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New System to Prevent Construction Accidents Under Bridge

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The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced an effort to prevent accidents around the Tappan Zee Bridge construction zone. There are around 90 construction vessels in the Hudson River in Westchester County under and near the bridge at any one time, making the area hazardous to commercial and recreational boaters. As the season goes on, there could be as many as 130 vessels in the river at any time.

The accident prevention system will use global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking to identify the positions of boats, barges and vessels in the area. The New York State Thruway Authority, Tappan Zee Constructors and the U.S. Coast Guard are jointly instituting this safety improvement to prevent construction accidents.

Both recreational and commercial vessels should be very cautious when approaching the area. An interactive map showing the locations of vessels in the river will be available on the project website at http://NewNYBridge.com. Boaters should know that crews will be installing permanent pilings in the water under the bridge this week. Pilings are illuminated at night once installed.

The bridge construction is expected to be completed sometime in 2018. The Tappan Zee Bridge, which is part of the New York State Thruway system, has an accident rate twice that of the rest of the 574 mile roadway. The construction project is intended to relieve the congestion on the span. Currently, 138,000 vehicles each day cross the bridge each day, many more than it was originally planned to handle.

Source: Scarsdale Daily Voice, "Summer Advisories Set For Westchester As Bridge Construction Progresses," June 2, 2014.