Progress Updates August 21, 2017 No Comments

Opening the First Span What You Need to Know About the Traffic Shift

August 21, 2017
Opening the First Span What You Need to Know About the Traffic Shift

This aerial photo, taken in June, shows where the first span of the new bridge will connect to the New York State Thruway in Westchester County.

When is the first span of the new bridge opening?
The new bridge will partially open to traffic during the overnight of Friday, Aug. 25, weather permitting. The Thruway Authority will release details about the traffic shift in the coming days. Motorists will also be advised via Variable Message Signs along the New York State Thruway and highways in the region and Thruway Highway Advisory Radio will soon begin broadcasting updates.

How many lanes will be available?
There will be a total of eight traffic lanes on the first span in a temporary traffic pattern. Initially, only four northbound/westbound lanes will be open to traffic. The first span, specifically its landing areas, remains an active construction site. In the second lane from the right, motorists will see a drivable concrete strip — outside the normal wheel path — that is the base for the future bicycle-walking path concrete barrier. As such, the posted speed limit will be 45 mph for the safety of motorists and construction workers. The Thruway Authority strongly encourages motorists to abide by the speed limit and remain alert as they travel over the bridge. Motorists should also be aware that the far right westbound lane will be separated by a solid white line just before the cable-stayed area of the bridge and at the curve approaching Rockland, indicating a “no-passing” zone.

Rendering of the new span

The southbound/eastbound lanes will be shifted onto the remaining four lanes on the new bridge in the fall so that the second span can be completed. A temporary concrete barrier will separate traffic traveling in opposing directions. All traffic lanes on the new span will be comparable in width to the existing lanes on the old bridge.

Why isn’t the entire bridge open to traffic?
Tappan Zee Constructors needs to complete the landing areas in Rockland and Westchester before southbound/eastbound traffic can be moved over to the new bridge. That will happen in the fall.

How many Westchester-bound lanes will there be on the old bridge?
During this temporary pattern, the old bridge will have four lanes of southbound/eastbound traffic. A barrier will separate traffic from three retired lanes, which will be a construction work zone.

When will the second traffic shift take place?
The second traffic shift will occur in the fall when four southbound/eastbound lanes are transferred to the new span. This traffic pattern will remain in effect until the second span is complete in 2018, at which time motorists will experience the full benefits of the new twin-span crossing with its wider driving lanes, the addition of safety shoulders and lanes for emergency vehicles.

What will happen to the old bridge?
Many of the old bridge’s materials, including more than 130 deck panel units, two moveable barrier machines and moveable barrier sections, will be transferred to nearly a dozen state and local municipalities. The current movable barrier system was put into service in February 2007 and consists of two barrier machines and approximately 16,500 feet of barrier wall. The New York City Department of Transportation may use the movable barrier system in multiple locations. It is estimated that the transfer will save approximately $17.5 million as a result of not having to purchase a new movable barrier system. Upon removal of the old bridge, TZC will be able to connect the second span to the Westchester and Rockland landings.

When will the shared biking/walking path open?
The new Shared-Use Path will be built on the westbound span following completion of the eastbound span in 2018. Features of the bicycle and pedestrian path will include six overlooks—or resting points—above the Hudson River; visitor parking and pavilions; and interpretive exhibits, art, and signage.


The Current Configuration:







The New Configuration: