The 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. The bridge, which was anticipated to carry up to 100,000 vehicles per day, handled an average of 140,000 vehicles daily, and traffic congestion and delays were regular occurrences. Heavy traffic, narrow lanes and the lack of emergency shoulders often contributed to congestion and frustration for motorists. As a result, the bridge had twice the average accident rate per mile as compared to the rest of the 570-mile Thruway system. In the last decade, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to maintain and repair the bridge. Had the bridge not been replaced, the cost of maintaining the bridge would rival the costs of a new bridge, with none of the benefits.
The Tappan Zee Bridge had only seven lanes, all of which were narrower than the current standard lane width of 12 feet. The new twin-span Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will have eight wider general traffic lanes and shoulders. The shoulders of the new crossing will greatly reduce the traffic impact of disabled vehicles and accidents, which caused massive tie-ups on the old bridge. The incline approaching the main span will not be as steep, allowing large trucks to maintain consistent speed and reduce engine and braking noise. There will also be gently banked curves to further smooth traffic flow and reduce accidents. In addition, the new bridge will feature dedicated bus lanes that have been shown to reduce travel times for all vehicles. The new crossing has the structural capacity to handle rail in the future. In April 2016, cashless tolling went into effect, eliminating the need for eastbound drivers to slow down or stop and idle at a toll plaza.
The eastbound span features four general traffic lanes, emergency shoulders and a dedicated bus lane. A temporary traffic configuration allows for four general traffic lanes on the westbound span. Emergency shoulders and the dedicated bus lane will be available following the opening of the bicycle/pedestrian path.
Yes. A dedicated bus lane on the eastbound span opened in late October 2018. The westbound lane will be available for use after construction of the bicycle/pedestrian path is complete in 2020. The bus lane is located on the right side of the road, between the general travel lanes and the outside shoulder.
Only vehicles with seating for 15 or more passengers are permitted to use the bus lanes. These include Hudson Link buses, charter buses, school buses, and other regional public transit buses. New York State Police are responsible for enforcing the proper use of the bus lane on the bridge. The first violation will carry a fine of $150, and the penalty would escalate for any repeat violations within an 18-month period.
Yes. Bicyclists and pedestrians will enjoy a 12-foot-wide shared-use path on the northern side of the westbound span. The path will also have six scenic overlooks, and visitor parking, restrooms and other amenities at each landing.
The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is built to last 100 years before any major structural maintenance is required.
The project cost is $3.98 billion.
The bridge was designed and is being built by Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC), a consortium of design, engineering, and construction firms, including Fluor, American Bridge, Granite Construction and Traylor Bros., along with key design firms HDR, Buckland & Taylor, URS, and GZA.
Jamey Barbas, P.E., is the Project Director. Ms. Barbas has more than 30 years of experience in bridge design, construction and inspection with a special emphasis on complex and long-span bridges. She is an expert in leading major infrastructure projects and in alternative delivery methods such as design-build.
Design-build is an alternative to the traditional construction method of “design-bid-build.” Under a design-build contract, the Design-Builder is responsible for the construction as well as the design. Design-build often provides more cost certainty than traditional “design-bid-build.”
The Thruway Authority secured a $1.6 billion, long-term, low-interest loan through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program in December 2013, the largest loan in the history of the program at the time. During the past two years, the Thruway Stabilization Fund, $2 billion in bank settlement funds, have been committed to support Thruway capital improvements and help pay for the project. This funding has also frozen tolls on the entire Thruway system through 2020. The remainder of the cost of the new bridge will be financed with Thruway Authority bonds.
No. Governor Cuomo has frozen tolls at current levels through 2020 and has called on the Thruway Authority to establish a resident discount program for drivers living in Rockland and Westchester counties.
Implemented for the Tappan Zee Bridge in April 2016, cashless tolling allows motorists to pay their toll while maintaining highway speeds. Cashless tolling helps ease congestion, improve safety and reduce air pollution. The system, which now serves the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, collects tolls via E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail, detecting classes of vehicles and applying the correct charge. If you have E-ZPass, your toll is collected using the same process that you are already familiar with. If you do not have E-ZPass, cameras photograph your vehicle’s license plate as it passes under the overhead equipment. A bill is then automatically sent to the registered owner by U.S. Mail. Learn more at NewNYBridge.com/CashlessTolling.
The new bridge will have dedicated bus lanes in its final twin-span configuration. The new bridge is also being built with the structural capacity to handle rail in the future.
Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC) began dismantling and removing the Tappan Zee Bridge following its retirement in October 2017. TZC’s efforts primarily involve cutting and dividing sections of steel and concrete into manageable sections. TZC then uses barge-based cranes, including the project’s super crane, to remove these sections and place them on floating barges for transportation. Many concrete materials and steel trusses have been repurposed or recycled. Pieces of the old bridge have bolstered artificial reefs off the shores of Long Island and deck panels were provided to nearly a dozen state and local municipalities for future bridge and highway projects.
Construction activities cannot produce noise levels of 70 decibels or above between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Twenty-four-hour noise and vibration monitors post information to the project website, and a 24-hour hotline (1-855-892-7434) is available to report excessive noise. Equipment noise levels are limited and levels verified by Thruway environmental engineers.
Twenty-four-hour air quality monitors are located throughout the construction area with real-time results posted on our website. The contractor is required to use the most stringent (EPA ‘Tier 3’) dust and diesel particulate filters on its construction equipment.
In construction as well as design, our team has worked diligently to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the project. Examples include relocation of thousands of live adult oysters to preserve the shellfish population, tagging of Atlantic sturgeons to track and monitor as they pass through the construction zone, and falcon nest boxes on the old and new bridge. To learn more about our commitment to environmental stewardship, visit the FEIS page on the New NY Bridge website.
The Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors have established a partnership with the New York State Department of Labor to get as many local workers hired on the project as possible. To find out about employment opportunities, visit the New York State Department of Labor website.
If you are interested in seeing the construction progress firsthand, you can visit the Westchester viewing platform at Tarrytown’s Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park or the Rockland viewing platform at Memorial Park. The project’s day-by-day progress can also be tracked from the comfort of home, thanks to online construction cameras situated at various vantage points on and around the project site.