After more than a decade of discussion and delay, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo pushed the project forward from dysfunction to construction in less than one year. Proof that the great state of New York can do great things is visible to anyone who sees the twin-span cable stay bridge now rising out of the Hudson between Westchester and Rockland counties.
Building A New NY Bridge
More than 1,000 steel support pilings have been driven into the riverbed, pile caps have been installed, more and more support piers are being completed, structural steel-blue girders are being placed and now work has begun on the iconic 419-foot main span towers. When complete in 2018 the new bridge will help smooth traffic flow and reduce the accident rate with 8 general traffic lanes, emergency and breakdown lanes, state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems as well as space for dedicated bus lanes and a path for bicycles and pedestrians.
Why replace the Tappan Zee Bridge?
The existing Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge bridge opened to traffic in 1955 and is a vital artery for residents, commuters, travelers and commercial traffic. Bridge traffic has grown to about 138,000 vehicles per day, far more than the Tappan Zee was designed to support. Heavy traffic, narrow lanes and the lack of emergency shoulders can create unsafe driving conditions. As a result, the bridge has twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 574-mile Thruway system. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to maintain the structure in recent years. The cost of maintaining the current bridge for the foreseeable future rivals the cost of a new bridge, with no improvements to current traffic conditions.
A Sensible Solution
The New NY Bridge will mean less congestion and frustration for motorists, with eight general traffic lanes, breakdown/emergency lanes, and a state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems. The new crossing will also be mass-transit ready, with space for Bus Rapid Transit as well as a design that can accommodate future light rail or commuter rail. The bridge will also feature a shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
From Dysfunction To Construction
Plans for a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee were first discussed in 1999, and over the following decade, $88 million taxpayer dollars were spent, 430 meetings were held, and 150 concepts were considered – yet still, the project did not move forward. Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s leadership and with the support of President Barack Obama and U.S. Department of Transportation, the project has moved from dysfunction to construction. Since October 2011, new design-build legislation was enacted, a fast tracked federal environmental review and concurrent procurement processes have been completed, a project labor agreement with construction unions was negotiated, and construction activities commenced – all with an unprecedented level of transparency and community involvement.
Preserving The Environment
Extensive measures will be in place throughout the duration of the project to protect the environment and to monitor the impact of construction on surrounding communities. Wildlife in the Lower Hudson Valley is rich and diverse, featuring endangered peregrine falcons, Indiana bats and Atlantic sturgeon. As a result, it is necessary for large-scale operations like the New NY Bridge project to undergo an extensive permit process to help protect these creatures. The project team has worked closely with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and several other oversight agencies to establish the highest environmental standards and minimize the impact on the local environment.
The Bottom Line
The project construction cost is approximately $3.98 billion.
Raised By The Best
The bridge is being designed and built by Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC), a consortium of some of the world’s best-known and most highly-regarded design, engineering and construction firms, including Fluor, American Bridge, Granite, and Traylor Bros., along with key design firms HDR, Buckland & Taylor, URS, and GZA. TZC is working closely on the project with a team of employees from the New York State Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation.
2015 Construction Highlights
First Concrete Road Deck Panel Placed – Fall 2015
Main Span Towers Rise To Existing Road Level – Winter 2015