TARRYTOWN, NY-The impetus behind the Cuomo administration’s decision to replace the three-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects this Westchester County community with Nyack on the western shore of the Hudson River, may have been federal funding through an Obama administration program that identified high-priority infrastructure projects across the US. However, Ross Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley Inc., also based in Tarrytown, tells GlobeSt.com that the need to address the Empire State’s longest span has long been evident.

“The signs were obvious,” says Pepe, who will moderate a panel of experts on the subject at RealShare Westchester Fairfield Counties on August 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. For one thing, the bridge has outlived its useful life: “it was built for a 50-year life cycle and it’s already approaching 60.” Cost estimates of structural rehabilitation for the Tappan Zee run well over $1 billion, “and that would be for a bridge with no added capacity.”

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