TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Honk if you want a new Tappan Zee Bridge built sooner rather than later.
That was the message a small group of about 15 construction workers and officials from the Construction Industry Council sent to motorists on Route 9 in Tarrytown during rush hour on Friday.
“We need a new bridge,” Eastchester resident and Ironworker Local 40 union member Eddie Scannell said. “This bridge is old—we've been repairing it for years. All the people in Rockland, a lot of guys are trying to get to work in the city. We just need the bridge.”
Workers stood in front of Mavis Tire with signs reading “Honk for a new bridge” and “Build the bridge now.” Another sign promoted the ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow.org advocacy group, which argues that the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge should not be delayed because it puts motorists at risk and the new bridge will create thousands of needed jobs.
Other advocacy groups such as the Tri-State Transportation Campaign have argued that the bridge needs to have a mass-transit component on it and that the new bridge should incorporate when it opens, even if it means delaying the project. Other politicians and residents have complained about the fast-tracked approval process for the bridge, saying state officials are rushing the project.
Scannell said the creation of jobs would be a great benefit, but safety was a bigger concern.
“Naturally it's going to put all of us to work and we'll be proud to work on it, but we need a bridge,” Scannell said.
The rally solicited several beeps from passing cars and trucks as construction workers waved their hands and signs, although pedestrians passing by did not comment on the rally.
A smaller group broke away to hang signs from the Route 9 bridge over the New York State Thruway before crossing the street and setting up camp near the Irving neighborhood.
Fellow Ironworker Local 40 member and Yonkers resident Mike Digeronimo said he was out rallying support for the new bridge because “the old one's falling apart.”
“Anything happens to that bridge—the poor people on the other side of the river are in big trouble,” Digeronimo said.