Episode 297: A Big Bridge In The Wrong Place

The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York i

The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York Stuart Ramson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Stuart Ramson/AP
The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York

The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York

Stuart Ramson/AP

This episode was originally released in August, 2011.

You would never look at a map of the Hudson River, point to the spot where the Tappan Zee Bridge is, and say, "Put the bridge here!"

The Tappan Zee crosses one of the widest points on the Hudson — the bridge is more than three miles long. And if you go just a few miles south, the river gets much narrower.

Our question for today's show: Why did they build a three-mile-long bridge when they could have built a much shorter, cheaper bridge nearby?

Our search for an answer leads us to a forensic engineer, the Statue of Liberty, and a governor who wanted to be an opera singer.

Download the Planet Money iPhone App. Music: Chris Pureka's "Burning Bridges." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.