The new bridge’s iconic main span towers are nearing completion thanks to the around-the-clock efforts of the hard-working men and women of Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC).
To create these eight landmark 419-foot structures in just over a year, TZC crews operated in rotating shifts. Daytime workers swapped places with swing shift workers every day at 6 p.m. This continued with night shift workers, who traded places with the swing shift just after midnight. Each of these rotations were carried out with the assistance of the project’s crew boats, which have quieter motors to reduce noise for nearby residents.
An average of two dozen skilled workers handled the main span night shifts, with the assistance of strategically placed lighting. The temporary lighting provided ample visibility for workers while minimizing impacts to the community and drivers on the existing Tappan Zee Bridge. It also allowed TZC to accomplish work that would impede the progress of others on the main span, such as the adjustment of the towers’ blue jump forms, and maintaining equipment that would be used during the daytime hours.
This streamlined process proved essential to the success of the project’s time-sensitive operations, such as the pouring of concrete.
“Working at nights has its challenges but it allows us to get our work done safely without interfering with other operations,” said Billy Pharrell, a foreman for Carpenters Local 279 and Tarrytown native.
Tower operations began in the late summer of 2015 atop the main span’s football-field-length foundations. TZC crews used the jump forms to install steel and pour concrete in sections ranging from 12 to 18 feet in height. After each tower section was completed, the jump forms were raised to create a workspace for the next section. Each tower required 26 “jumps” to reach full height.
Crews on the bridge’s Westchester and Rockland landings also occasionally work during the late night or early morning hours to ensure that there is minimal impact to commuters. Operations include concrete placement, drainage/utility work, and the realignment of traffic lanes on the New York State Thruway.