For immediate release: August 9, 2013
Contact: Dan Weiller (518)471-5300
THRUWAY AUTHORITY REFUNDS TOLLS TO MOTORISTS WHO WERE U-TURNED
DUE TO JULY 23 WRONG-WAY DRIVER ACCIDENT ON TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE
Motorists who were U-turned on the Tappan Zee Bridge following the serious accident on July 23 that closed all northbound lanes for six hours have received thousands of dollars in refunds for bridge tolls that they paid that night, the New York State Thruway Authority announced today.
A total of $6054.50 in tolls was waived or refunded to 1267 motorists. E-ZPass tolls totaling $5329.50 were refunded to 1122 motorists. Toll collectors waived $725.00 in tolls for 145 motorists.
The multi-vehicle accident occurred near the Rockland side of the Tappan Zee Bridge and resulted in one fatality. The accident involved a wrong-way driver who entered the northbound Thruway at exit 10 in Rockland proceeding southbound. The cause is still under investigation.
Signage and pavement markings at exit 10 are being reviewed by Thruway Authority officials.
Following the accident, with all northbound lanes closed for a preliminary investigation, Thruway officials opened the concrete safety barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes to U-turn stranded passenger vehicles. Only southbound drivers are charged tolls on the Tappan Zee, so the U-turned motorists had to pay the toll to leave the bridge and pursue other routes to their destinations. Due to the size and configuration of trucks and other commercial vehicles, these motorists could not be U-turned.
At staffed toll lanes, toll collectors did not charge passenger vehicles that had been U-turned, but tolls were charged at E-ZPass lanes.
The lack of emergency shoulders or U-turns on the Tappan Zee Bridge means that serious accidents such at the one that occurred on July 23 can lead to hours-long delays for drivers. Pre-construction activities are currently underway for the New NY Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee, which will include wide shoulders and emergency U-turn as well as other features to make driving conditions safer on the crossing.