Construction of New Bridge Making Steady Progress
| by Janie Rosman |
Now in its third year, the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project is nearly one-third complete.
Among many projects that happened last month was the I Lift NY crane making its first placement: fitting a 600-ton precast concrete pile cap tub on a set of piles with pinpoint precision can take from one to four hours. (View the historic action here: http://newnybridgegallery.com/index.php).
Tubs will then be filled with rebar and concrete. It was the first of many lifts after months of planning and preparation. (See “Super Crane Makes History with Bridge Replacement.” page 9)
Ninety-six percent of the design is complete, and what remains is landscaping, lighting, architectural details, and shared use path parking. Pile driving for the main span is also complete with 73 percent of all pilings installed. Additional pairs of rebar cages near the Westchester landing have been visible since last fall.
“About 91 percent of Phase 1 (everything except the Westchester and Rockland landings) is complete, and will be completed by the summer,” Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare said. Landings for the old current bridge must be torn down before those for the new bridge can be built.
Despite a harsh winter that necessitated a work suspension in February, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) continued off-site construction.
Ten miles south of Albany at Port of Coeymans is a TZC staging yard and assembly site for steel girders that will connect the columns and support the road deck. Stony Point (Tomkins Cove) in Rockland County is the assembly site for rebar cages that fit into the pilings and filled with concrete, then topped with pile caps.
Roughly the size of a tennis court, approach span pile caps are pre-fabricated off site and barged to the work site. Main span pile caps that are 14’ high (seven feet will be above the river level, and seven feet will be below) are larger than a football field and have to be cast in place.
In March, the two floating concrete batch plants returned to the construction site and passed their required testing. A third batch plant will be on the project site in early summer.
Part of the former New York State Police Troop T Barracks was torn down in April to create a staging area on the Westchester landing. The 18,000-foot building was vacated last year when the state police and Tappan Zee Bridge maintenance crews moved to West Nyack.
The site will be rebuilt as a visitor and greeting area once the project is completed. A new maintenance facility will be built north of the site, and Troop T will be relocated to a new building on the south side of the Thruway.
TZC is installing foundations for a temporary toll gantry near Exit 10 in South Nyack (prep began in September) that will be removed when the bridge and electronic toll collection system open.
An increase in TZC vessels from the current 110 to 130 or more this summer highlights an emphasis on boater safety.
Last spring, the U.S. Coast Guard established a safety zone banning boaters from a two-mile area along the Rockland shore. The Regulated Navigation Area (RNA), which is 500 yards north and south of the main span, limits boat speeds to no more than five knots (5.8 miles per hour).
GPS tracking devices on TZC’s barges and other boats can be checked on the New NY Bridge (www.newnybridge.com) website. “This is popular in the boating community because they needed to spread the word about how busy it is out there on the river,” Conybeare said.
Educational outreach continues within Hudson Valley and outside the tri-state area. The team’s 102 presentations included graduate and international engineering students, students with special needs, undergraduates, middle, high and elementary students, and boy/girl/cub scout groups, and via Skype and site visits.
“From the beginning, Governor Cuomo directed that the New NY Bridge project be the most open, transparent and inclusive infrastructure project in New York state history. And our Community Outreach team has held hundreds of meetings with groups large and small including local residents, business groups, schools, elected officials and more,” Conybeare said.
Project officials reported 5,847 visitors since both Outreach Centers opened: 2,423 in Tarrytown, and 3,434 in Nyack. Both locations have displays that include informational panels and mannequins dressed in safety gear.
Eight new wayfaring signs directing visitors to the Community Outreach Center in Tarrytown and the viewing area at RiverWalk Park were posted recently in Tarrytown at Thruway exits. Nyack will have similar blue-and-white markers and a sign map when the Memorial Park fishing pier is finished.
TZC’s monthly business orientation meetings, the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m., allow potential contractors to meet the bridge builder’s decision makers. To date, TZC has:
• Done business with 1,326 firms/vendors: 552 in New York State; 155 in Westchester County; 74 in Rockland County; 54 in New York City; and 30 in Orange County.
• Signed contracts worth or paid out a total of $1.8 billion: $757million for permanent materials; $752 million for subcontractors; $319 million for indirect expenses.
• Signed contracts worth or paid out $149.2 million of its 10% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goal for this $314 million project.
• Utilized 93 certified DBE (Disdvantaged Business Enterprise- minority, women, disabled, veteran owned small businesses) companies.the
How much will the tolls be? Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his State of the State 2015 address that $1.2 billion from bank settlement funds — approximately $5 to $6 billion from the French bank BNP Paribas SA and Credit Suisse Group AG over economic and tax improprieties — will ensure Thruway tolls won’t increase and will help finance the bridge project.
A $1.6 billion TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan was signed in December 2013 by then-Thruway Executive Director Thomas J. Madison.
Acting Executive Director Bob Megna has yet to be approved by the State Senate. However, the process has begun for the Senate to address then vote on his position; a date will be scheduled at some point in the near future.