Garden City Long Island developer Vince Polimeri wants to drive a truck under your front lawn. Actually, we wants to drive thousands of trucks under lots of front lawns in Rye, New York. Every day. Really.
Polimeri has proposed building a $10 billion dollar vehicle tunnel under the Long Island Sound connecting Syosset on Long Island and Rye in Westchester. The privately financed toll road would carry up to 80,000 vehicles daily, primarily trucks paying a toll of $100 one-way. Cars would pay $25 one-way. An executive from project engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald, Randy Essex, told Long Island Newday that the tunnel would be used primarily by truck traffic moving from the Island to update New York or Connecticut. All vehicles exiting the northbound side of the tunnel would exit at and connect to the intersection of Interstate I-95 and Interstate I-287 in Rye.
The project’s Web site describes the potential location for the tunnel’s "North Portal" in Rye (italics added):
"The north portal and facilities would be located in the vicinity of the I-95 and I-287 interchange in Rye, Westchester County, NY. The engineering of the portal location and various connections to the interstate highways is more challenging than for the south portal due to the uneven topography and current interchange configuration. There are several alternative configurations to successfully achieving the required connections, each having advantages and disadvantages with respect to the level of construction complexity, temporary impacts to existing interstate and local traffic and property taking and land acquisition."
Polimeri and his PR team at Rubenstein Associates might want to try driving from Rye up I-95 to Greenwich or across I-287 to Tarrytown and across the Tappan Zee bridge on a weekday morning. It is already a disaster. Note to self: invest in parking lots.
Rye Mayor Otis agrees. Last Wednesday Otis told The Journal News: "I believe this proposal would have a devastating impact on all of Westchester by clogging the I-287 corridor and I-95 to parking-lot conditions."
Not a New Idea
Proposals for links across the Long Island Sound are not new. The idea was first proposed in 1957 by Charles Sells, a former New York State Public Works Commissioner and founder of the eponymous engineering firm that authored the Sells Report about Rye’s April flooding. Sells proposed an over water bridge, pictured here. According to Newsday, "Plans for a bridge between Bayville and Rye were killed in 1973 after studies showed it would generate at least as much traffic as it would divert."
MyRye.com will look at various people and issues around the Cross Sound Link Project in the coming weeks, including:
The developer behind the Cross Sound Link Project: Vince Polimeri
The PR man selling the Cross Sound Link Project: former aide to Senator Al D’Amato and Rubenstein Associates executive Gary Lewi
Past proposals and local reaction.