- Click here for a related story: Bridgegate? Nixon, Molinaro Accuse Cuomo Of Rushing New TZB Span Opening Before Elections
This story has been updated.
Do you think the opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge's second span was rushed for political reasons?
The planned opening of the second span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge has been delayed after the New York State Thruway Authority said a piece of the old bridge became destabilized and could collapse.
"In continued disassembly of the old Tappan Zee Bridge last night, a potentially dangerous situation developed where a piece of the old bridge has become destabilized and could fall," Matthew Driscoll, the executive director of the thruway authority, said in a statement Saturday morning.
The opening of the Westchester-bound span on the new bridge had been planned for late Friday into Saturday. It is now unclear when it will open.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after an elaborate ceremony in which Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the new bridge's opening in full. Among those attending the flamboyant festivities was former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton of Chappaqua. (Watch a video of the ceremony above.)
"Given its proximity to the new completed span, out of an abundance of caution, motorists will remain in the current traffic configuration until a thorough evaluation by Tappan Zee Constructors is complete," Driscoll said. "The second span is finished and ready to open to traffic as soon as the Thruway Authority is assured there is no risk to the new span."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that "Rockland County is working closely with our counterparts at the State to ensure our utmost concern is addressed - the safety of residents in Rockland and throughout the Hudson Valley region.
"Last night, assets from the Office of Fire and Emergency Services and the Sheriff's Department responded to the old bridge to help suspend river traffic and evaluate the situation.
"We will continue to offer the use of our resources to New York State for the duration of this situation and stay in close communication."
The Rockland County helicopter and two Sheriff Marine Units responded to the bridge Friday night.
Westchester County Police also immediately stepped into action, according to County Executive George Latimer.
"The County Police Marine Unit was deployed to help stop river traffic from going near the old structure," Latimer said. "We continue to work closely with state officials, and are in constant conversation with engineers on the scene.
"The safety of Westchester County residents, and all travelers, is our top priority."
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, was quick to pounce on the situation as it related to Cuomo.
"The closing of the second span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge due to safety concerns, just hours after its opening, is shocking," Molinaro said. "It's now clearer than ever that the bridge was opened to meet Gov. Cuomo's political timetable without regard to public safety.
"Our first priority must be the safety of motorists and to ensure that the entirety of the new bridge is safe and that deconstruction of the old span can be completed without danger."
Actress Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo's opponent in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 13, called upon Cuomo to be "fully transparent" about what went wrong amid speculation the planned opening of the span was rushed so it happened before the elections.
“Safety has to come above all else, and the governor needs to be fully transparent about what happened here," Nixon said. "A ribbon-cutting ceremony should not have been held if the bridge span was not yet safe.
"There are real, reasonable questions about whether this bridge span opening was accelerated to aid the governor's campaign. Governor Cuomo needs to answer those questions swiftly, and allow for an expedited FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) process. There must also be an investigation.”
This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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