The New NY Bridge project is creating a state-of-the-art, twin-span replacement for the 3.1-mile Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.
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 amazing things is visible to anyone who sees the twin-span cable-stayed bridge now rising out of the Hudson between Westchester and Rockland counties.
Building A New NY Bridge
Since permanent construction operations began in late 2013, the New NY Bridge project has shown remarkable progress. Most of the substructure work—which includes piles and pier columns—is now complete. Construction continues with the ever-growing placement of steel-blue girders, road deck panels and segments of the iconic 419-foot main span towers.
Why Replace the Tappan Zee Bridge?
The existing Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee 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 system. 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.
Recent Construction Highlights
Tower Crossbeam Installation – March 2016
Towers Reach Road Deck Height – January 2016
First Road Deck Panels Installed – November 2015
Girders Connected to Landings – October 2015
First Concrete Pours on Main Span Towers – September 2015
All Planned Dredging Complete – August 2015
Pile Cap Installation Complete (Phase 1) – August 2015
Pile Driving Complete (Phase 1) – June 2015
First Structural Steel Girders Placed – June 2015