The tallest machines on the project are taking their final bow this month following the completion of major operations on the eastbound span’s four 419-foot main span towers.
The final pair of red tower cranes is being retired and removed from the project site after assisting with the construction of the iconic towers and the installation of stay cables, internal elevators and tower rooftops. Their dismantling marks the end of major construction efforts on the main span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
The extendable tower cranes rose alongside the new bridge’s concrete towers, starting from their football-field length foundations, through the main span roadway, ultimately up to 490 feet – or nearly three times the height of Niagara Falls. Each crane was capable of hoisting up to 25 tons of materials at a time. They proved to be the workhorses on the main span, delivering everything from nuts and bolts to steel cages and concrete to crews. They also removed the innovative jump forms, the large blue boxes that helped shape the towers.
The system that extended the cranes in 2015 is being operated in reverse, allowing the cranes to self-climb down to the height of the main span roadway, more than 100 feet above the Hudson River. This allows crews to safely and easily remove the major elements on the cranes, including the operating cabins and lifting arms.
The remaining “mast” sections of the machines are being raised from the main span foundations to roadway height with smaller, mobile cranes to completely remove the machines.
After the machines are shipped off-site, workers will then filled the voids in the roadway where the towers once stood with reinforced steel and concrete, clearing the way for the final driving surface.