Tappan Zee's fate still up in the air

(07/17/03) TARRYTOWN - The more than 130,000 cars and trucks traveling across the Tappan Zee are beginning to take their toll on the bridge. That has prompted the state to conduct an in-depth inspection as to whether the bridge should be replaced or refurbished.

The project is a joint effort between the New York State Thruway Authority and Metro North Railroad. The two are trying to determine how to improve transportation along the Interstate 287 corridor.

The thruway authority says the bridge has been standing for almost 50 years and has been showing its age lately. Salt water is causing the bridge to rust and traffic is breaking down the aging steel structure.

Officials continue to ask themselves if the state is better off replacing the bridge or spending billions of dollars on maintenance. Until those issues are decided, workers will keep painting and replacing parts to ensure the bridge is in working condition.

There are currently 150 proposals on the table and by next week the thruway authority hopes to narrow it down to 15.

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