The New York State Thruway Authority is replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new 3.1-mile state-of-the-art, twin-span bridge across the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties.
The $3.98 billion Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is one of the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States. Located less than 20 miles north of New York City, the cable-stayed span crosses one of the widest parts of the river and will be the largest bridge in New York State history.
A New NY Bridge
All traffic from the old bridge is now temporarily shifted onto the first new span, providing four lanes in each direction. The new traffic pattern will allow design-builder Tappan Zee Constructors to demolish the old bridge’s landings and complete the new bridge’s second span in these areas in 2018.
Why Replace the Tappan Zee Bridge?
The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge opened to traffic in 1955 and, until its retirement on October 6, 2017, was a vital artery for residents, commuters, travelers and commercial traffic. Bridge traffic grew to about 140,000 vehicles per day in 2016, far more than the Tappan Zee was designed to support. Heavy traffic, narrow lanes and the lack of emergency shoulders had the potential to create unsafe driving conditions. As a result, the bridge had twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 570-mile Thruway system. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to maintain the structure in recent years, and the cost of maintaining it for the foreseeable future rivaled the cost of the new bridge, with no improvements to current traffic conditions. The New York State Thruway Authority retired the bridge on Oct. 6, 2017, after nearly 62 years of service.
A Sensible Solution
When complete in 2018, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo 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
Eastbound Main Span Steel Completed – September 2017
First Span Opens – August 26, 2017
Opening Ceremony – August 24, 2017
Westbound Connection Completed – April 2017
Main Span Connected to Approaches – February 2017
Main Span Towers Completed – December 2016
Final Westbound Girder Assembly – October 2016
First Stay Cable Installed – July 2016
Tower Crossbeam Installation – March 2016