New Tappan Zee Bridge to Open on Time in 2018

John Jordan | December 15, 2016

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the topping off ceremony on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. PHOTO: NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY AUTHORITY

TARRYTOWN—At a topping off ceremony for the new span’s eight towers, state officials announced that the new Tappan Zee Bridge (also known as the New NY Bridge) will open for traffic in 2018 and will be completed on budget at $3.98 billion.

A host of political, business and construction trade officials gathered at the project site on Dec. 13 to celebrate the topping off where Gov. Andrew Cuomo and representatives of the contractor Tappan Zee Constructors provided a status report on the massive Design-Build project.

A total of 90% of support structures on the project are installed, including the fabrication and placement of 126 steel girders sections. To date, 3,000 roadway panels have been installed to connect the Rockland and Westchester shorelines.

“Replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge with such a magnificent structure sends a powerful message to the world that nothing is too big or too difficult for the Empire State,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This is one of the largest projects ever undertaken by the state of New York. With the topping off of the eight main span towers, we have reached a major milestone in our continued progress and are on schedule to open in 2018 and on budget. The new bridge will be built for the ages and strengthen our region’s infrastructure for generations to come.”

Among some of the construction milestones cited at the event include the 419-foot towers stand at a five-degree angle, and are the most iconic feature of the new bridge. They are 100 feet higher than the top of the current Tappan Zee Bridge and feature a sleek, chamfered design. All eight towers on the westbound and eastbound spans were scheduled to be completed the week of Dec. 12 with the final concrete pour.

Approximately 90% of support structures for the new span have been completed, including the fabrication and placement of 126 steel girder assemblies. Fourteen steel girder sections will be installed on the eastbound span starting next year.

The last pile was recently driven into the Hudson River and more than 1,000 piles have been installed to date. The steel structures serve as the foundations for the new bridge. If laid end-to-end, the piles would stretch for more than 50 miles, state officials noted.

More than 3,000 road panels, each 12-feet long, ranging between 22 and 45 feet wide and nearly 11 inches thick, have been installed. The current construction accounts for 3.4 miles of road deck for the approaches of the bridge.

Cables: More than one third of the 192 stay cables have been fully anchored and tensioned on the main span. If laid end-to-end, the cables would stretch 14 miles. When completed, they will total 700 miles of metal strands.

Also, officials noted that more than 220 million pounds of steel will be installed and the project is using more than 300,000 cubic yards of concrete—enough to build a sidewalk from the project site to Key West, FL. The project’s floating batch plants have produced more than 200,000 cubic yards of concrete to date.

The New NY Bridge is one of the biggest active bridge projects in the nation and the largest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority. In all, more than 6,300 people have contributed to the New NY Bridge project thus far, totaling more than 8 million man-hours of labor.

The new twin-span crossing will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is used by an average of 140,000 vehicles every day. The new 3.1-mile bridge will include eight general traffic lanes, four breakdown and emergency lanes, space for future bus rapid transit and commuter rail, a bicycle and walking path with six viewing areas, cashless tolling, and energy efficient LED lighting. The state-of-the-art bridge will not require any major structural repairs for at least 100 years, state officials noted.


John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth