The Tappan Zee Bridge is set to undergo a much-needed overhaul, but homeowners in the future construction area are raising flags over the noise, environmental and property value issues they say will come with the project.
The Tappan Zee Bridge construction is necessary, according to officials: when it was built in 1955, it was meant to hold 73,000 people a day. Now it averages 138,000.
Deterioration has set in, and maintaining it has been costing the state up to $100 million a year.
Part of the overhaul calls for an expansion of the span, which would bring the bridge closer to some waterfront homes in Tarrytown. It's a source of heartache for homeowners there.
Alice Goldberg and her husband, who own one such home in Tarrytown, said the views of the Hudson River and the bridge were what sold them on their townhouse. Now they fear the expansion project will make it impossible for them to sell it to anyone else.
"It's real challenge," said Goldberg. "And if you do try to sell it, you're selling it at a really low price, and then where do you go?"
"Prices have really plummeted," said another concerned resident, Sherwood Chorost. "And they've plummeted because of the clear plans to develop here."
Residents and elected officials voiced their concerns to representatives from the Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority Thursday night. In a press release announcing the meeting, organizer Paul Feiner said nearly 90 families living at The Quay complex near the bridge would be affected by the construction.
"Many of the residents will experience significant quality-of-life problems," he said. "The bridge span will come close to the complex, impacting their club house, tennis courts, pool and views."
Residents at the meeting Thursday said they wanted noise barriers near the homes, and for the state to offer to buy out some of the homeowners who live closest to the bridge.
Transportation officials said they are willing to hear concerns and to help mitigate the inconvenience that will come from an estimated five years of bridge construction.
But what residents really want is to be compensated by the government for their perceived loss in property values.
"We're not here to fight the bridge, or relocate the bridge," said Goldberg. "We accept fully the benefits to the entire region. That's not our issue. Our issue is how do you mitigate and compensate for the owners' life?"
The question of a buyout is uncertain: the state does not normally buy property they don't need.
The cost of the new bridge stands at $5.2 billion, a figure reduced from an initial $21 billion.
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