TARRYTOWN, Westchester County -- The old Tappan Zee Bridge dramatically crashed into the Hudson River with a resounding boom during a controlled demolition around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday.
The rescheduled demolition went off without a hitch, when explosive charges safely detonated at the support columns on the bridge's east anchor span. Tappan Zee Constructors said the demolition was originally scheduled for Saturday but was postponed due to inclement weather.
The new Mario Cuomo Bridge replaced the 64-year-old Tappan Zee, which was once a poster child of America's crumbling infrastructure.
The major thoroughfare spans the Hudson River between Tarrytown in Westchester County and Nyack in Rockland County about 30 miles north of New York City.
For those who don't need to travel along and across the Hudson, the demolition was quite a popular attraction. The View on the Hudson, a catering hall, offered a breakfast special with champagne so people could toast the bridge's demise.
"It's one of those once in a lifetime things," said the hall's Vincent Incorvaia. "People are calling up, and they seem excited, pulling their kids out of school."
To ensure everyone's safety, the river was closed to all recreational vessels.
The Piermont Pier gates were closed until it was deemed safe to reopen. The pier was closed to vehicular traffic, but pedestrians will be permitted.
The Ferry Road entrance to the pier was closed at Paradise Avenue, but handicapped parking was available in front of the Goswick Pavilion parking lot. A valid handicapped parking permit was required. Additional parking was available in Parking Lot D, Spruce Lot, and the North lot opposite the fire department. Parking is strictly prohibited on Castle Road, Tweed Boulevard and Route 9W.
The original plans were to avoid the use of explosives that could have an impact on fish habitats, but experts determined the old bridge was structurally unsound, preventing workers from continuing a piecemeal takedown.
Specialty marine salvage equipment will be utilized to remove the material from the Hudson River in the following weeks.
"Westchester County residents should not be alarmed by the plans for demolition, as the process is being handled in a careful, safe manner," said County Executive George Latimer. "The U.S. Coast Guard has established a 2,500-foot safety radius around the site, and no residential areas are within that safety zone. Drivers should expect a slowdown, and are being strongly encouraged to avoid I-287 and other connecting roads during the demolition process."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)