New York State plans to use recycled sections of the demolished Tappan Zee Bridge to build six new artificial reefs off Long Island's North Shore. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the initiative on Tuesday at Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island.
The artificial reefs will be located off the shores of Smithtown, Shinnecock, Moriches, Fire Island, Hempstead and Rockaway. In addition to recycled concrete and steel from the old Tappan Zee Bridge, the reefs will be built with vessels like tug boats and barges. The materials will be dropped to the sea floor, where fish and barnacles and sponges and other marine life will move into their new homes.
Cuomo says the initiative will improve habitats for New York marine life. “We are stewards for a brief period of time on this Earth, and then we hand it off to the next generation. And our responsibility is to hand it off better, and we will.”
The Governor said it’s the largest expansion of artificial reefs in New York State history, and it will also boost Long Island's recreational and sport fishing industries. “It’s economic development, it’s environmental protection at the same time. It is also an alternative to recycling. So it’s a win-win-win. Everybody agrees there’s a tremendous potential for artificial reefs, we just have to make it happen.”
Beginning in May, state agencies will transport materials from the former Tappan Zee over the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland Counties. It will cost $5 million to move the materials out to sea and settle them underwater. Cuomo says the development will be finished by August.