NY bridge opens as new link in Northeast US highway system

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, called the The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, near Tarrytown, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. The event was held a day before vehicles start rolling across the massive new Hudson River span. Cuomo and a host of other dignitaries attended Thursday’s ceremony for the 3-mile long bridge, which is being named after Cuomo’s late father. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – A new bridge providing a critical link in the Northeast U.S. highway system has opened in New York.

Early Saturday, the first of an estimated 50 million vehicles annually crossed the Hudson River on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

For now, motorists going south or east will use the Tappan Zee Bridge until it is completely replaced by the new bridge sometime in the fall.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday commemorated the bridge named for his father. Mario Cuomo served three terms as governor, from 1983 to 1994. He died in 2015.

The 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) bridge links Westchester and Rockland counties along the New York State Thruway north of New York City.

Construction commenced in 2013, launched by the state Thruway Authority after decades of political squabbling.

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