Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Of First Span Of The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Major Milestone Reached in Design-Build Project
Press Release August 24, 2017 No Comments

Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Of First Span Of The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Major Milestone Reached in Design-Build Project

August 24, 2017

Bridge Connecting Rockland and Westchester on Track to Open in 2018 and on Budget at $3.98 Billion
Rockland-Bound Traffic Shift Begins Friday Night at 9 p.m.
A Time Lapse Video of the Project is Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the first span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, an iconic twin-span cable-stayed crossing that will serve the Hudson Valley for the next century. The Governor commemorated the milestone with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured more than 800 dignitaries and residents from Rockland and Westchester counties on the cable-stayed area of the first span. The construction project is one of the largest in the nation and the biggest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority. Four lanes of Rockland-bound traffic will begin crossing the first span late Friday night into Saturday morning.

“The new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is much more than a magnificent, cutting-edge structure, it is a symbol for this state and this nation. The opening of this new span shows the world that we have our energy and our boldness back, that we will continue to accomplish greats things, and that we are building bigger and better than we have in decades,” Governor Cuomo said. “Excelsior reminds us that the motto of this state says reach even higher, and we’re not only building a new bridge with this in mind – we are building a new state and a stronger economy. This historic project is providing quality jobs, hope and opportunity to both residents and visitors of this state, and I look forward to future generations of New Yorkers crossing the Hudson River on this new bridge for the next 100 years.”

Governor Cuomo drove on the new bridge span in a 1955 Corvette with Armando “Chick” Galella, who drove the same model year Corvette as part of the inaugural procession that crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge on December 15, 1955. The Sleepy Hollow resident is a veteran and Bronze Star recipient who survived the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will partially open to four lanes of Rockland-bound traffic overnight on Friday, August 25, weather permitting. For the next few months, northbound/westbound drivers on the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) will cross the Hudson River on the new bridge, while southbound/eastbound drivers will use the old bridge, each having four traffic lanes available. Later this fall, the new bridge will completely replace the 62-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge when four lanes of Westchester-bound traffic are also shifted onto the first span.

At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the New York State Thruway Authority has managed the bridge replacement project since 2013 with two fundamental objectives – first, to fully open the bridge to traffic in 2018, and second, to finish the bridge at or below the budgeted cost of $3.98 billion. Currently, the project remains on budget and on schedule, as construction of its second span continues to progress.

After all traffic has been shifted onto the first span, design-builder Tappan Zee Constructors will demolish the landings of the old bridge, which occupy the same footprint of the second span, and connect the second span to land. When completed, drivers will reap the full benefits of the 3.1-mile twin-span, which will include:

  • Eight general traffic lanes;
  • Four breakdown and emergency lanes;
  • Space for future bus rapid transit and commuter rail;
  • A bicycle and walking path with six unique viewing areas;
  • Cashless tolling; and
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting.

The original Tappan Zee Bridge, linking Rockland and Westchester, opened in December 1955 and there are now more than 140,000 vehicles crossing it daily.  

As the first cable-stayed bridge ever built across the Hudson River, the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge uses steel cables placed at an angle to connect the bridge deck to vertical towers that extend high above the roadway. The bridge features eight 419-foot towers standing at a five-degree angle, and has a total of 192 stay cables that would stretch 14 miles if laid end-to-end. More than 110,000 tons of all-American steel is being used to build the bridge, and approximately 7,000 people have contributed to the project to date, totaling nearly 9 million work hours.

The project has been recognized across the nation, including by former President Barack Obama, who put it at the top of his list of critical infrastructure priority projects. Once complete, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will not only connect the Hudson Valley, it will serve as the main conduit between Upstate and the New York City metropolitan region.

This project is using the design-build construction process which Governor Cuomo championed and brought to New York. The process incentivizes the private sector to be creative on methods that speed construction time and reduce cost, while the state also achieves more cost certainty. Tappan Zee Constructors is responsible for both the design and construction. This model is being used across New York’s large infrastructure projects including on the new Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City. That project opened its first span in late April.

The New York State Thruway Authority is the owner of the project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge; Tappan Zee Constructors is the consortium designing and building the new bridge.

Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Construction Timeline:

October 2013 First foundational steel piles driven into Hudson River
September 2014 Start of pile cap installation
November 2014 First piers constructed
April 2015 I Lift NY super crane’s first lift (600-ton precast concrete pile cap)
May 2015 First pier cap constructed
June 2015 First girder assembly placed by super crane
September 2015 Start of tower construction
November 2015 First road deck panel installed
April 2016 Towers reach halfway point
July 2016 First stay cable installed on westbound crossing
October 2016 Final girder assembly installed on westbound span
December 2016 Final main span tower topped off
April 2017 Westbound span connected
August 2017 Westbound span paving operations completed

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “The Tappan Zee Bridge replacement is one of the most urgently needed and important infrastructure projects in the nation, and today marked another important step toward providing much-needed relief for commuters and strengthening a critical link in our region’s infrastructure system. I’m proud to have supported Governor Cuomo’s vision and leadership and to have helped secure $1.6 billion in federal funding through a historic TIFIA loan to make this new bridge a reality for the Lower Hudson Valley. Our state and regional economy depends on reliable transportation infrastructure, and this innovative solution will continue to spur economic growth for years to come. It is fitting that this great system of infrastructure will be named after Mario Cuomo, a great governor of the state of New York.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said, “One of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects, the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will enhance safety, reduce congestion and promote greater economic development. I am pleased to have been a part of working to obtain the necessary funding to make today a reality.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “It was an honor to join Governor Cuomo and my friends from the Hudson Valley to celebrate the opening of this historic bridge, and I want to thank the Governor for doing this right. From start to finish, this project has been a model for how we should do all of our big infrastructure projects – it’s on budget, it’s on schedule, it’s engaged with the private sector, and I was proud to do my part to secure federal financing through the TIFIA program. The political climate is ugly right now, but this bridge is a symbol of what we can get done when we push all that aside and do what we’re supposed to do.” 

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “It is a great day for Westchester and New York State as we witness the completion of the first span of the Mario Cuomo Bridge. I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this monumental project. This is a needed investment in our local infrastructure, one that will positively impact countless hard working commuters, travelers and businesses. I look forward to continuing this commitment to improving Westchester and rebuilding our state for the future.”

Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein said, “The opening of the first span of the Mario Cuomo Bridge represents a milestone in New York’s commitment to improving our infrastructure. I look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo to continue to invest in projects that move the state forward.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “This is a proud moment in the history of our great state. Not only is this project on time and on budget, it was built entirely by union labor and with American-made steel. I thank Governor Cuomo for once again setting the standard for the rest of the country by ensuring the best workforce and products were used on this magnificent bridge. The fact that highly skilled and highly trained union labor got the job done using only the best quality U.S. steel means we can all enjoy, with great confidence, a state-of-the-art crossing for generations to come.”

Tappan Zee Constructors President Terry Towle said, “After years of hard work by thousands of dedicated people, we are proud to have traffic on the new bridge for the first time. In addition to maintaining one of the best safety records in the industry, our team has consistently met tight deadlines under extremely challenging conditions. Together we are building an iconic bridge that will serve this community for generations.”

Incoming Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said, “This is a historic moment for New York State and the Thruway Authority with the opening of its next great bridge. This day would not have been possible without Governor Cuomo and his efforts to get this state-of-the-art project moving after decades of dysfunction. This incredible infrastructure project has created jobs, boosted the economy and will provide a quicker, safer ride for motorists across the state and the Thruway Authority and all of its employees are proud to be a part of it.”

New NY Bridge Project Director Jamey Barbas said, “Opening a new bridge is always a momentous achievement and a significant milestone on any project, but especially on one of this size and scale. Putting traffic on the first span is a culmination of many striving toward the same goal. I want to thank all of the hard-working men and women who made this day possible.”

High resolution photos are available here and a time lapse video of the project is available here.