MAY 5, 2012
NYACK, NY — Originally, it was going to be six homes—a handful of South Nyack residents living near the South Broadway overpass would lose their houses to a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
The state would procure the properties, and the residents would start searching for new abodes.
But not anymore.
New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) and Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) officials announced Friday that the Tappan Zee Bridge project—which could cost taxpayers as much as $16 billion, and has yet to be finalized—would not commandeer any local homes.
"As we continue planning this groundbreaking project, we have made it a top priority to hear from members of the community and respond to their concerns," added Tom Madison, the executive director of NYSTA.
It's a decision that has local lawmakers content.
"I am pleased that the state listened to our concerns and was able to help preserve our historic community," said Patricia DuBow, South Nyack's mayor. "I now look forward to working with the state to ensure that during the construction phase of the Tappan Zee Bridge we can minimize the impacts of construction such as noise and emissions."
Still, DuBow said Friday's announcement "came as a surprise."
The change is possible because a new design moves construction east of the South Broadway overpass by reducing the depth of the new bridge and aligning the landing "more easily with the existing highway," officials said.
Some of the affected homeowners are not pleased, however—they're downright livid.
"This is an absolute betrayal on the part of local officials," said Faith Elliot, who lives on Smith Avenue. "It's a grotesque web of deception from the New York State Thruway Authority."
Elliot said she was glad in the long run that her home would have been taken—she wouldn't have to "live in a war zone for seven years."
"I know it's going to be unlivable," she added.
John Cameron, who lives in a South Broadway home that was also slated to be taken, agrees with Elliot.
"We were relieved that they were going to be taking our property," he said.
Elliot noted she has turned her life upside down over the past six months preparing to move. And now, all the headaches were for nought, she said.
DuBow acknowledged that the affected homeowners are in a difficult situation.
"It's hard—you're jacked around and you don't know which way it's going."
Michael Anderson, the bridge's project manager with the NYSDOT, was not available for comment.
According to the project's documentation, the six homes that would have been swept off the map were:
- 21 Cornelison Avenue (Two-family home)
- 78 Smith Avenue
- 306 South Broadway
- 317 South Broadway
- 319 South Broadway
- 321 South Broadway
Two of the homes are listed as historic; further, a garage structure and two green spaces would have been eliminated, too.