Opening of 2nd Mario Cuomo Bridge span postponed over fears of unstable Tappan Zee

NEW YORK — The opening of the second span of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge was pushed back following concerns over the old Tappan Zee’s structure, the New York State Thruway Authority said.

Engineers and authorities decided to postpone the Saturday opening due to concerns over the remainder of the old bridge after “a potentially dangerous situation developed where a piece of the old bridge has destabilized and could fall.”

“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. 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. 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.”‎

With its potential to collapse, authorities decided to keep motorists off the second span, which is directly next to the old bridge, as a precaution.

A thorough evaluation is underway, and the second span, which was scheduled to open Saturday, will be open to traffic as soon as the Thruway Authority assures there is no risk.

When opened, each span will have four lanes of traffic going each direction.

Gubernatorial nominee Cynthia Nixon criticized her opponent’s decision to host a ribbon cutting ceremony if the bridge span was not safe.

“Safety has to come above all else, and the Governor needs to be fully transparent about what happened here. 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 process. There must also be an investigation.”

The new bridge’s first span opened last year, when the structure was named to honor Mario Cuomo, governor from 1983 to 1994 and father of the state’s current chief executive. He died on Jan. 1, 2015.

Associated Press contributed to this report.