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Bridge plan

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New York officials are nearing a decision on the choice of a design for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

A state selection committee has recommended the least expensive of three options to replace the bridge built in 1955 to connect South Nyack in Rockland County with Tarrytown in Westchester County. The state Thruway Authority will decide Dec. 17 whether to accept the recommended $3.1 billion twin-span design that would take about five years to complete.

The agency could choose from the two other bids that were over $4 billion. However, the low bid will help to keep down bridge tolls, which have been projected to rise from $5 to $14. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is seeking a federal loan for as much as 49 percent of the cost, which will be a factor in determining the final price and tolls

Construction is expected to begin in 2013.

The planning process has moved along expeditiously with a design selection coming after about a year of work in contrast to a government often criticized for a slow-moving bureaucracy.

As Gov. Cuomo noted, “It can take a year to buy a new desk in this place.”

But New York has done this before, when the state and Vermont worked together to construct a new Lake Champlain bridge after the old one was suddenly closed in 2009. The design of a new bridge was finished in 10 weeks with construction beginning the follow year and finished this May.

It demonstrates what can be done when there is a need and a determination to get something done.

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