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Panels Show Tappan Zee Road Design

Monday, November 2, 2015

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The new Tappan Zee Bridge is beginning to look more like a bridge and less like a construction project.

The first sections of road were installed on the northbound span where the new bridge turns toward Rockland, The Journal News reported on Thursday (Oct. 28). It’s the first time since bridge construction started above water that the design of the bridge can be seen beyond design renderings.

Although the newspaper points out that it’s hard to see the new stretch of road from the existing Tappan Zee bridge because the road sits between the current spans, the new bridge—also known as the New NY Bridge—can be seen clearly from above.

Thruway Authority Executive Director Bob Megna called the installation of the new panels “another positive sign of the progress,” the daily newspaper reported.

‘Very, Very Stringent Requirements’

“They’re doing things with the concrete and the steel that we haven’t seen before,” said Unistress President Perri Petricca in a TV interview last month.

Photos: New York State Thruway Authority

The first sections of road were installed on the northbound span where the new bridge turns toward Rockland. Each is 11 inches thick, 12 feet long, 22 feet to 45 wide and weighs 74,000 pounds.

Petricca was referring to the new road panels his company is making, which are 11 inches thick, 12 feet long, and range from 22 feet to 45 feet wide. Each weighs up to 74,000 pounds and is being lifted into place by cranes.

Unistress, of Pittsfield, MA, is making 6,000 of the panels in a $70 million deal with Tappan Zee Constructors—the joint venture that is the primary contractor building the bridge. The daily newspaper said the company can make 18 per day; so far, they’ve made 1,400.

“All the re-enforcing steel is galvanized. Very, very stringent requirements for this high strength concrete mix,” Petricca said.

In total, 973 road deck panels will be used to build the main span in between the towers. Those are being made by the Fort Miller Group, of Schuylerville, NY, just northeast of Albany. That company also is producing other concrete precast items for the new bridge, including the median barrier.

Onlookers will have to wait a while to see those pieces because they are not scheduled to be installed until next year, the newspaper said.

“They are designed to interlock with one another, allowing for swift and safe installation,” the Tappan Zee project wrote on its website.

When complete, the road will have a new feel from start of the bridge to the finish. The Journal News reports that the bridge—which will have 7,000 individual concrete panels when complete and carry an average of 138,000 vehicles per day—is slightly banked at both ends. And before the bridge opens, a final touch will be a one-inch-thick polyester concrete overlay to provide motorists with a smooth ride.

Other Developments

The bridge has had a rough time getting to this point. As previously reported, the project hit the halfway mark in September, and the first span is expected to open in December 2016.

The Fort Miller Group is making 973 road deck panels that will go on the New NY Bridge's main span. They are scheduled to be installed next year.

The project has been plagued with a number of setbacks, earlier reports indicate. Those include the collapse of three silos on a floating concrete bench; construction occurring without proper permitting; and more than one construction barge breaking loose from moorings.

More recently, the “public face” of the project announced he would resign his post Nov. 6. Brian Conybeare, who serves as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s adviser on the project, said in his letter of resignation that he was leaving to pursue other opportunities, according to an Oct. 21 article in The Journal News.

The Tappan Zee Constructors also were accused of unfair labor practices by two powerful unions who said that higher-paid dockbuilders should do the work that was assigned to lower-paid carpenters. A U.S. Circuit Appeals Court recently upheld a lower-court decision finding in favor of the contractor.

Meanwhile, The Journal News reported Friday (Oct. 30) that nine communities neighboring the bridge have a shot at $1.5 million in state funds to improve the waterfront on the Hudson River.

The money is part of a 2013 settlement among the Thruway Authority, Scenic Hudson and Riverfront so that environmental groups would sign off on Department of Environmental Conservation permits needed to build the new bridge.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Concrete; Government; Government contracts; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Steel

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