October 16, 2014 marked the first anniversary of permanent construction operations on the New NY Bridge project, and the past year has seen exceptional progress on the foundations of the new crossing. Looking ahead, the project is poised to make even greater and more visible strides in the coming year.
As of early October, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) has installed nearly two thirds of the project’s foundation piles, more than 750 to date. These steel tubes are driven hundreds of feet into the riverbed to create solid footholds for the bridge. The largest piles are 6 feet in diameter and almost 300 feet long. The deeper piles are the 4-foot diameter friction piles that are driven to almost 350 feet below the river.
The next step is the installation of pile caps, which unify the supportive strength of the individual piles at the surface of the river and create strong bases for the new bridge. The massive main-span pile caps are longer than a football field and support the bridge’s 419-foot towers. Most of the project’s 70 pile caps, however, are for the approach spans, and are about the size of a tennis court.
Dozens of pile caps will be will be set in place by the end of 2014. Additionally, work has begun on the project’s 136 bridge pillars, with the first set already rising from the surface of the river. In the coming months, New Yorkers will see the new bridge’s towers start to take shape, as dozens more pillars rise from the water.
The arrival of the I Lift NY super crane this month will further accelerate progress. Capable of lifting 1,900 tons – the weight of 12 Statues of Liberty – the powerful crane will speed the installation of the new bridge’s pier caps and, later on, its girders and decking.
A great deal of work also has been accomplished at locations distant from the project site. Thirty percent of precast pile caps have been fabricated and work recently began on the structural steel girders. These and other elements of the bridge will be barged to the project and installed by crane.
Learn more about the past year’s construction progress, including the efficient mechanical welding process and protective bubble curtains, and find out what the next year of construction holds on the project’s website.