Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that the I-287 project in Westchester County has been completed nine months ahead of schedule – after decades of delays and cost overruns.
Cuomo stepped up oversight of the boondoggle soon after he took office in 2011 and after the Journal News found costs swelled more than 50 percent on I-287, pushing the total price tag to more than $740 million.
“The I-287 reconstruction project was a prime example for drivers in Westchester of the dysfunction in state government, but in the last two years we reformed the process, reduced the cost to taxpayers and finished the job ahead of schedule,” Cuomo said in a statement obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
In 2011, Cuomo ordered an independent review of the project, which is a main thoroughfare in Westchester and runs to the Tappan Zee Bridge. Cuomo is moving forward with plans to build a new bridge, at a cost of more than $3 billion.
In November 2011, Cuomo announced a series of reforms to keep state highway construction projects on time and on budget.
Cuomo said the review by his office led to moving up the I-287 completion date, which was initially set for this August. He said the final phase of the work was completed Dec. 14.
In its investigation, the Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. publication, found that extra expenses and delays fueled $123 million in added costs for I-287 — pushing the project’s total cost to a $86 million per mile.
“This project began over a decade ago and resulted in tens of millions in cost overruns and years of delay – time and money that New York taxpayers could not afford to waste,” Cuomo, who lives in New Castle, Westchester County, continued in his statement.
Cuomo said that when the I-287 Cross Westchester Expressway Corridor project began 15 years ago, it was to cost $490 million. It ended up growing to $568 million.
The last phase of the work was the reconstruction of the Exit 8E interchange, including replacing two bridges and redoing exit ramps to downtown White Plains and Harrison.
Some minor work will continue in the spring, such as paving and striping and the addition of streets lights on North Street. Additionally, wetlands mitigation will be completed, and landscaping will be added to the corridor, the governor’s office said.