| Brian Conybeare |
Safety is the number one priority on the New NY Bridge project. Earlier this spring, you may have heard about a number of boater safety enhancements being established by the New York State Thruway Authority and design-builder Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC).
One of those improvements—an online GPS vessel tracking system—provides a bird’s eye view of the 90 or more work vessels situated in the active construction zone. The map shows which vessels are stationary, which are moving and in what direction. In addition, the monitoring system includes an electronic “geo-fence” designed to alert the TZC safety/security team of any unintended barge movement. The GPS system can be easily accessed by boaters on the Boater Safety page at NewNYBridge.com.
The interactive map includes two other boater safety initiatives that were developed in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard. The first, Regulated Navigation Areas (RNAs), impose a speed restriction of 5 knots and require boats to use no wake. The RNAs were first established in the summer of 2013 and covered an area 300 yards north and 200 yards south of the existing bridge. This month, the Coast Guard extended the RNAs to 500 yards north and south of the Tappan Zee.
The second initiative is the new Safety Zone. This zone encompasses a 16-barge mooring area marked by lighted buoys. No unauthorized vessels are permitted anywhere in the Safety Zone.
Maintaining boaters’ access to local marinas is also a priority for the project. Recently, the Coast Guard approved the Authority’s application for lighted channel markers to assist recreational boaters accessing the Piermont marinas.
The Thruway and TZC have worked diligently to ensure continued access of the Hudson River for recreational and commercial boaters, and to provide a safe work zone for those building the new bridge. My team continues to hold meetings with boating groups throughout the Hudson Valley to spread the boater safety message.
More detailed New NY Bridge boater safety information, including the GPS tracking map and the U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners, can be found at NewNYBridge.com.
Brian Conybeare is the Special Advisor for the Tappan Zee (New NY Bridge) Project