The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, usually referred to as Tappan Zee Bridge, is a cantilever bridge in New York over the Hudson River at one of its widest points; the Tappan Zee is named for an American Indian tribe from the area called "Tappan"; and zee being the Dutch word for "sea". It connects South Nyack in Rockland County with Tarrytown in Westchester County in the Lower Hudson Valley. Federal and state authorities are currently planning a Tappan Zee replacement bridge, with estimated completion in 2017.
The total length of the bridge and approaches is 16,013 feet (4,881 m). The cantilever span is 1,212 feet (369 m) providing a maximum clearance of 138 feet (42 m) over the water. The bridge is about 25 miles (40 km) north of midtown Manhattan; the skyline can be seen from the bridge on a clear day.
The bridge is part of the New York State Thruway mainline, and also designated as Interstate 87 and Interstate 287. The span carries seven lanes of motor traffic. The center lane can be switched between eastbound and westbound traffic depending on the prevalent commuter direction; on weekdays, the center lane is eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening. The switch is accomplished via a movable center barrier which is moved by a pair of barrier transfer machines. Even with the switchable lane, traffic is frequently very slow. The bridge is one of the primary crossings of the Hudson River north of New York City; it carries much of the traffic between southern New England and points west of the Hudson.
As of January 2009[update], eastbound passenger car pays a toll of $5.00 cash, or $4.75 via E-ZPass. The "Commuter Plan" charges $3 per trip. If using fewer than 13 trips per month, the Commuter Plan can be more expensive than paying cash, as one must pay $3 for every trip that they did not take under 20 trips.