Residents Have Clear View of Bridge Construction Phases

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|  by Janie Rosman  |

New-Bridge-PAGE-1Visitors to the viewing area at RiverWalk Park in Tarrytown get their first look at the new Tappan Zee Bridge this fall when renderings seen only on paper begin to appear in the Hudson.

“You’ll see the towers rise up with help from tower cranes,” Special Advisor to the Governor Brian Conybeare told residents last month at Washington Irving Middle School. “Then they’ll put prefabricated sections of the road deck in to sit on top of the girders, followed by 14 miles of cables strung down to support the road deck of the main span,” a process, he said, that should be completed in about two years.

Monoculars purchased via a $49,500 grant from the Community Benefits Program, which also paid for educational signage ($2,070), offer a clear view. Last month the Tarrytown Board of Trustees authorized agreements with PBS Construction to build one large bench that is curved to follow the contour of the viewing area, Village Administrator Mike Blau said.

Once No Parking Today, Inc. returns its signed agreement for a flagger to direct vehicles on the H-Bridge, per a $31,000 grant for traffic control,  the village will choose a start date.

As the school term ends so does Educational Outreach’s “Year 2: A Solid Foundation” presentations to more than 102 schools. The plan is to begin “Year 3: Many Working Together” in the fall when school resumes.

One of the numerous webcams is a bird’s-eye view of the peregrine falcon nest. Three chicks (eyases) were born in April, and project officials are planning a falcon-naming contest at local schools.

Space was cleared in April to create a staging area on the Westchester landing. Conceptual renderings include a welcome center and restrooms, a maintenance facility, signage and local information, and a small café. State Police Troop T will relocate from its temporary quarters in West Nyack to a new building on the south side of the Thruway at the Overlook in Tarrytown’s RiverWalk Park.

Details for the Rockland landing are being worked out after the state agreed to move the shared use path off local streets.

With Phase 1 (everything except the Westchester and Rockland landings) completed, “Phase 2 will be in 2017 when the landings of the old bridge will be torn down,” Conybeare said. Figures coincide with the state’s purse, which, to date, paid bridge builder Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) $1.35 billion.

Construction Updates 

A highlight was the April placement of the first of the new bridge’s 59 pier caps near Tarrytown. History didn’t happen quickly. “It took eight hours for the crane to lower the pile cap nine feet,” Coneybeare said.

At 87 feet-wide, the current bridge’s seven lanes are 11 feet wide each, 10-1/2 feet wide in some spaces. The zipper installed back in 1993 to move the concrete divider, adding a southbound lane in the mornings and a northbound lane in the evenings, will no longer be needed.

Each of the  new structure’s eight general traffic lanes meets the new federal highway standard of 12 feet wide (96 feet total width) with a shoulder for breakdowns and a double-wide shoulder of 25 feet for emergency access and space for a bus lane. One resident asked how the new bridge will help the flow of traffic given the highway won’t be widened. It meets the Thruway’s four lanes in both counties policy, though it becomes three lanes at the I-87/I-287 split in Westchester and near Exit 11 in Rockland.

Conybeare said project officials are aware of the pinch points. “The Thruway Authority and the DMV are looking at potential solutions for that. It’s not part of this project.”

Both spans will be built simultaneously; in late 2016 or early 2017, traffic will shift off the old bridge onto the new northern span of eight 12-foot-wide lanes and a divider for safety. Its concrete deck panel will be saved and lifted whole by the crane to be used in other projects by the state. The I Lift NY will then tear down the landings, the pre-built southern span will be connected where it sits, and traffic will be split between the two spans.

Its LED energy-efficient lighting design  will save power compared to the current bridge; future lighting will be dimmable and programmable. Dark-sky technology won’t bother nearby residents at night.

Thruway Authority Project Manager David Capobianco explained the corrosion protection plan requirement within the bridge builder’s contract that ensures its 100-year sustainability without major repairs. This requirement “….was for best practices regarding concrete covers, the type of reinforcement steel, protecting that steel from chlorides via special concrete mixes that would make it less permeable and special coating on the steel,” Capobianco said.

About 155 boats, barges and other Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) vessels in the river make boater safety a greater concern now that boat and yacht clubs and marinas are open. The Outreach Team plans to distribute boater safety information to boat clubs and marina in both counties.

For those who are wondering about the name, “We’re focused on building a bridge,” Conybeare said. “There’s been no talk internally about changing the name.” Any decision on a name will be voted on by the State Legislature.

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