The project to build a new New York Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee took a major step forward following approval of the design-build contract, New York State Thruway Board of Directors Chairman Howard P. Milstein announced today.
The $3.142 billion contract with Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC) – a consortium including Fluor Enterprises, American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, and Traylor Bros – was reviewed and approved by the State Attorney General and the State Comptroller. The TZC bid was at least 20 percent lower in cost than the two other bids that were submitted for the project.
“The final approval on this contract is another milestone for the new bridge project that is now ready to break ground this year,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “After a decade of delay, we now have a final approved bid that will give the Hudson Valley a new bridge with the best price, the shortest construction time, require the least amount of dredging and be a foundation for future mass transit. The transformation of this bridge project represents what state government can accomplish in the new New York.”
“This is a giant step forward for the new New York Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee, a project that is vital to the long-term economic well-being of the lower Hudson Valley and the entire region. It is also important to note that the design-build process produced a savings of $1.7 billion compared with original state and federal cost estimates,” Milstein said. “Governor Cuomo deserves tremendous credit for this success, and I would like to thank him as well as the many individuals at the Thruway Authority and our partners at other state and federal agencies who worked so hard to get us to this point.”
“The Thruway Authority has worked closely with the Comptroller’s office since October to facilitate their review of this contract, and we responded quickly and in detail to all requests we received throughout the process,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison. “Although Thruway contracts are reviewed by the Comptroller on a voluntary basis, we appreciate the Comptroller’s input and acknowledge the hard work of his staff on this project.”
Tappan Zee Constructors said: “We are pleased to learn about this important milestone and the team is looking forward to working with the Thruway Authority and local communities to get the New NY Bridge project moving ahead.”
The new New York Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee will include eight general traffic lanes plus emergency lanes and extra-wide shoulders for immediate express bus service when opened; A new toll plaza with at least three highway speed E-ZPass lanes (the current toll plaza includes only two 35mph lanes, as well as 5mph E-ZPass lanes); and a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path with safe scenic overlooks, with anti-climb fencing and security cameras to be monitored 24 hours a day. Construction is expected to begin in the next few months.
The new bridge will be built with the strength and capacity to accommodate mass transit modes including bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail. Last month, the Thruway Authority announced the establishment of a Mass Transit Task Force, which will work to identify short, medium and long-term transit solutions for the bridge and the I-287 corridor in Westchester and Rockland Counties including the bridge; develop funding strategies to implement and sustain transit operations; and create a corridor management plan to ensure a viable transit program.
The task force is comprised of state and local officials and transit and planning experts, and will have one year to complete its work and make recommendations. It will hold public presentations and provide opportunities for residents, commuters and others to have input on the process.
The new New York Bridge project is the largest transportation design-build project to date in the United States and one of the largest construction contracts in New York State history. Under the design-build process, engineering and construction firms join forces to compete for a single contract that covers both design and construction, and bids are selected based on best value offered. Design-build contracts foster private-sector creativity and innovation, shift risk, limit project delays and keep costs down.
The TZC proposal offered the lowest cost and the shortest construction timeline – five years, two-and-a-half months – among the three bidders. TZC will use their “Left Coast Lifter”, one of the world’s largest floating cranes, for the project, which will help cut total construction time. The Left Coast Lifter is able to lift 1,750 metric tons, 12 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. Use of the Left Coast Lifter will also ease demolition of old bridge.
The TZC proposal meets all environmental standards in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. It requires less dredging and less pile driving than the other submitted proposals, and maximizes the use of vibration techniques as an alternative to pile driving.