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Hudson River at Risk 3: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

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When the original Tappan Zee Bridge was built in the early 1950s, by an ambitious governor named Thomas E. Dewey, it was the largest bridge ever built, partially because it spanned the second widest spot on the Hudson River.

Why build where the river is at its widest? Dewey wanted the toll money in order to help finance his brand new New York State Thruway system. If the bridge had been built just two-tenths of a mile further south it would have fallen within 25 miles of the Statue of Liberty thus under the jurisdiction and bank account of the Port Authority, which had a monopoly over all of New York’s bridges and tunnels.

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