The Coast Guard established special no-boating zones on the Hudson River because of construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge, but the site of a crash that killed two people and injured three others in July was not included in the restricted area.
The “regulated navigation area” will extend 300 yards north and 200 yards south of the existing 3-mile bridge, officials told the Journal News on Friday.
The zones do not include the navigation channel, which is marked by lighted buoys and passes beneath the superstructure of the bridge. Also not included are four barge mooring fields, which include the site of a fatal boat crash last summer.
The Coast Guard said the site of the crash will stay outside the regulated areas because the vessels are stationary, but that did not make a difference on Sunday when one of those 50-foot stationary barges broke loose from its mooring and drifted nearly a mile, again raising safety concerns.
The runaway barge broke away from its mooring on the Rockland side of the river near the bridge sometime Sunday evening. Officials say they aren’t sure how it came loose, but police don’t believe it was deliberately let go.
Dean Taucher told the Journal News that at first he thought the stationary barge had been relocated, but he quickly saw that it was moving.
“I thought, ‘That’s not a good thing, considering what happened with that terrible accident.’ Somebody’s got to be paying more attention to these things,” Taucher said.
On July 26, bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart and her groom’s best man, Mark Lennon, were killed after the speedboat they were riding in at night slammed into a construction barge operated by Tappan Zee Constructors, the builder of the new bridge. The New York state Thruway Authority, still waiting to close on a federal loan, will sell more short-term bonds to pay for the ongoing construction of the new $3.1 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, according to the Daily Record.
The Nyack, N.Y., man charged with vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault in connection with the July boat crash is due in Town Court today. His lawyer tells the Journal News the appearance is procedural because the defense has not received a grand jury notice.
The family of the two killed have said that a poorly lit construction barge caused the crash, not 35-year-old JoJo John. Authorities said John was operating a boat while intoxicated, but county officials say they don’t know when the results of a toxicology test will come back. Authorities maintained that the barges were properly lit, although the Thruway Authority added lights to the barge after the crash.