Source: New York State DECSource: New York State DECThe recently shuttered Tappan Zee Bridge, which spans the Hudson River north of New York City, is about to get a second life as material used in the construction of six artificial reefs all off of the coast of New York's Long Island.

"The sustainability and health of New York's marine resources is critical to communities along our shores, and by constructing these reef habitats, we are investing in a stronger more diverse marine ecosystem," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "As the largest artificial reef construction program in state history, these efforts will increase New York's marine biodiversity, provide new habitats for a variety of coral and fish, and support a growing tourism industry that brings thousands of anglers and travelers to Long Island's pristine waters every year."

In addition to the recycled materials from the Tappan Zee Bridge, the six artificial reefs — Smithtown Reef, Shinnecock Reef, Moriches Reef, Fire Island Reef, Hempstead Reef and Rockaway Reef — will also be composed of recycled materials from old scows, tugboats and barges.

The recycled bridge materials, which will be cleaned of all contaminants, will begin their final journey down the Hudson River via 33 barges beginning in May and will then be submerged at points along Long Island’s coast.

Once settled on the ocean floor, various sea life will begin to create habitats much like those found in natural reefs.

"Long Island's legendary fishing industry is world renowned," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. "With the addition of these clean, recycled materials, the artificial reefs off our shores will develop into larger habitats and help our marine life diversify and grow."

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