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Officials Give Media Tour Of Tappan Zee Bridge Construction

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A milestone has been reached in the Hudson River as construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge intensifies.

Those who are building the new Tappan Zee Bridge took reporters, including CBS 2's Lou Young and WCBS 880's Peter Haskell, on a tour of the progress being made.

Two hundred pilings have been driven down into the river bed and you can see the main span beginning to take shape.

Officials Give Media Tour Of Tappan Zee Bridge Construction

"These particular pilings will be filled with concrete in the fall," said Larry Owens, with Tappan Zee Constructors.

As reporters took a look at the beginnings of the new bridge, a clam bucket pulled river mud from the inside of the hollow pilings. Eventually there will be thousands of them. Motorists will be driving on top of the in about four years.

"It goes on from seven in the morning until seven at night," Tarrytown resident Larry Kearns said of the noise.

Kearns said the time can't pass quickly enough. He wants to sell his home and knows that won't happen until the new bridge is finished.

"We just cleaned this boat four days ago," he said.

Over in Piermonth, silt in the water from all of the activity clings to boat bottoms and a narrow channel with a 5-knot speed limit is casting a shadow on the approaching summer.

"There are a lot less boats on the water than there were in years past," said Piermont business owner Katie Perque.

"Instead of keeping it here, (boaters) go up north or down to the Jersey Shore," said Piermont Marina owner Suren Kilerkiyan.

To reduce the silt, the builders are lining the river bottom at the bridge with a foot of gravel, but the recreational boating restrictions are another story.

"We're probably pushing a hundred pieces of equipment now between our tugboats, boats and equipment barges right now. (How long do you expect the boating restrictions to be in effect?) The restrictions are really there for the duration of the project," said Tom McGuiness, with the New York Thruway Authority.

That means at least four more years of slow going on the water.

The good news is that officials in charge of the massive project insist they are right on schedule.

"This is a very, very big job," said bridge spokesman Brian Coneybeare. "If you look at the cranes, they're big. The pilings are big."

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