Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 'Drivers First' initiative, a new approach by the State Department of Transportation to prioritize the convenience of motorists and ensure that disruptions are as minimal as possible to drivers at highway and bridge projects across the state.
To kick off the initiative, the Governor today directed the State Department of Transportation to adjust the construction schedule on the Twin Bridges repair project to reduce disruption and delays for drivers in the Capital Region and motorists traveling to and from the North Country. At the Governor's direction, NYSDOT will adjust the construction schedule to ensure the bridge opens both lanes to traffic Sunday at noon, instead of early Monday morning.
"Our job is not to have people adjust to government, but to have government adjust to the people," Governor Cuomo said. "Closing all but one lane in each direction of the Twin Bridges when thousands of drivers are returning downstate from weekend trips to the North Country is simply unacceptable. This government has promised to respond to the needs of the people of this state, and for that reason, I have ordered the Department of Transportation to adjust the construction schedule on this project and to review projects across the state to ensure the convenience of drivers comes first and we tailor construction work around motorists' schedules instead of around government's plans."
In addition, the Governor has directed NYSDOT to undertake a thorough review of all state highway and bridge repair projects to ensure that disruptions are as minimal as possible to motorists. To ensure that future projects prioritize the convenience of New York drivers, the Governor has also directed NYSDOT to include in its primary criteria for awarding contracts a requirement that all construction schedules are designed to cause as few disruptions for motorists as possible.
The Twin Bridges, also known as the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, span the Mohawk River in New York's Capital District. Each span carries three northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 87, also known as the Adirondack Northway. Since construction began on the bridge, there have been major traffic delays going back for miles, causing major disruption for the many drivers that use the Northway to travel between the North Country and lower parts of the state on weekends.
The adjusted construction schedule will come at no additional cost to the project's contract. The Governor today also directed NYSDOT staff to continually update the variable message signs and place them further north on the Northway so travelers can change their travel schedule well in advance of the Twin Bridges.