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Rockland-Bound Traffic To Switch To New Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The first span of the newly named Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will open to Rockland-bound traffic later Friday.

After four years of construction and $4 billion in costs, drivers will get the chance to ride across the Hudson River on the new replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Named for his father, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said four lanes of westbound traffic will start crossing the first span late Friday night into Saturday morning. For now, traffic from Rockland to Westchester will continue to use the old bridge.

The towering twin spans of the bridge each boast nearly 200 massive cables.

"We are leaving an old, dangerous, traumatizing bridge and it's replaced by a new, safer, smarter structure," the governor said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The governor's office says sometime this fall, cars heading from Rockland to Westchester will start using the new span as well, using four opposite lanes while work is completed on the second twin span.

After a last minute legislative move, the bridge was officially named after the governor's late father.

"Today, my father does smile down on us,'' Andrew Cuomo said.

Gone are the signs honoring former Gov. Malcolm Wilson and the words "Tappan Zee," which was a tribute to the Native American Tappan tribe and early Dutch settlers.

But some, including Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who ran against Cuomo for governor three years ago, say the name should never  have changed.

"I think it should have stayed the Tappan Zee Bridge," Astorino said.

The second span is slated to open next year. New York State Throughway Chair Joni Mahoney promised one key thing will remain, WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported.

"The toll to cross the new bridge will remain $5 round trip, which is significantly less than the tolls on the other downstate bridges," she said.

Eventually, the Thruway Authority will give away parts of the old bridge's deck and its moveable barrier system. Eight counties have requested some of the 150 deck panels to be salvaged for reuse in other bridges.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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