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New NY Bridge Rises above Water

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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Work on the $4 billion new Tappan Zee Bridge, also known as the New NY Bridge, hit the halfway mark in construction earlier this month.

While most of the work to date has taken place below the water’s surface, more visible work progress has moved into view.

Construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, or the New NY Bridge, reached the halfway mark in September, as work began above the water's surface.

Two years into the project, despite earlier pitfalls—including the collapse of three silos on a floating concrete batch plant, construction being performed without proper permitting, and more than one construction barges breaking loose from their moorings—the bridge is taking shape.

Recent Steps Forward

The New NY Bridge site has been keeping a record of the project’s progress.

Aug. 6 saw placement of the first structural steel on the new bridge’s westbound (northern) span. The 390-foot, 820-ton steel girder segment was constructed from three previously assembled individual girders and was lifted into place by the “I Lift NY” super crane—the “monumental” floating crane on the project site.

The first steel on the eastern (southbound) span—a 410-foot segment—was placed in June. In all 31 miles of steel girders weighing more than 100,000 tons will be installed.

Installation is ongoing for the steel girders that will eventually support the bridge deck. On a media tour of the construction site, Tom McGuinness, construction compliance engineer for the New York State Thruway Authority, told the Journal News that the girders are expected to nearly reach the superstructure of the Tappan Zee Bridge by the end of this year.

On Aug. 21, the bridge project site announced completion of the second of the project’s two football-field-sized main span pile caps, which rest on top of steel foundation piles. After months of work inside the 14-foot deep caps installing the layers of galvanized steel reinforcement, more than 20,000 cubic yards of concrete were used to fill the massive foundations for the new bridge’s 419-foot towers. Those towers will support the bridge’s 2,230-foot cable-stayed spans.

On Sept. 4, the site reported that construction of the towers had begun. Self-climbing jump forms, positioned on the main span pile caps, will be used to construct the towers in continuously rising segments. With climbing tower cranes and catwalks, steel reinforcement will be installed and the concrete cast before a jacking system “jumps” the forms to the next level.

Self-climbing jump forms will be used to construct the bridge's eight, 42-story towers.

The Journal News indicated that there will be eight towers in total built at a 5-degree angle. Each tower will be as tall as a 42-story building and, when completed, will stand 100 feet taller than the current Tappan Zee Bridge.

On the tour, McGuinness said that all eight towers are being constructed simultaneously. Special tower cranes mounted to the base of the foundations rather than barges are in place to reach the higher elevations.

The towers will be completed by summer 2016.

Building the Bridge Deck

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, work is underway on the concrete deck panels that will make up the driving surface of the bridge.

Perri Petricca, president of Unistress, a company that specializes in the design, production and construction of large-scale precast/prestressed concrete structures, told News10 ABC Sept. 17 that of the 6,000 concrete deck panels required, his company had completed 1,400 to date.

According to Petricca, the panels are engineered to last 100 years.

Petricca told the news station that his company is accustomed to complex jobs; in fact, he originally argued for the chance to build the whole bridge out of concrete.

However, he said, “They’re doing things with the concrete and the steel that we haven’t seen before. All the re-enforcing steel is galvanized. Very, very stringent requirements for this high strength concrete mix.”

As part of the $70 million contract, the company will transport the finished deck panels from its Pittsfield, MA, location to the Port of Coeymans where they will be delivered to the bridge site by barge.

New York State Thruway Authority

One span of the bridge is expected to be open to traffic in December 2016.

According to McGuinness, the first span of the crossing is expected to be open to traffic in December 2016, and the second span will open within the next year.

New York’s Biggest Bridge Project

The 3.1-mile span over the Hudson River is reported to be one of the world’s longest, widest and most expensive bridges. At $4 billion, it is the largest bridge construction project in New York’s history.

It will contain eight traffic lanes, four emergency lanes, modern traffic monitoring systems, a dedicated commuter bus lane, and bike and pedestrian paths. It is also built to accommodate rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail.

The design-build team for the project is composed of a number of design, engineering and construction firms—including Fluor, American Bridge, Granite, Traylor Bros., HDR, Buckland & Taylor, URS, and GZA—and works under the name Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC).

TZC works closely with the New York State Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation on the project.

Designed and constructed to last 100 years without major structural maintenance, the new bridge is scheduled for completion by 2018.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridge Piles; Bridges; Construction; Cranes; Design build; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Rebar; Roads/Highways

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