27 September 2012
The USA’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved New York state's plan for a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee.
This federal approval completes the last step in the review of the project's environmental impact, allowing the state to move forward with implementing a plan to build the new bridge.
Federal highway administrator Victor Mendez said: "The construction of this new bridge will create thousands of jobs. It's a prime example of what President Obama called 'an America built to last'. When completed, it will make travel safer and more efficient in one of the nation's busiest areas - setting the stage for economic growth for years to come."
Representatives from a dozen federal and state agencies were in daily contact and met weekly throughout the environmental review process leading to the FHWA’s record of decision.
The environmental review of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project was accelerated after the project was fast-tracked by Obama on 11 October 2011. A draft environmental impact statement was released on 24 January and the final environmental impact statement was issued on 1 August.
It contained comprehensive requirements for mitigating environmental and public concerns raised on the impacts of construction. It includes environmental protective steps such as use of bubble curtains to protect fish from acoustic effects of pile driving, limits on dredging to avoid interfering with migration and spawning as well as measures to release any sturgeon captured during dredging.