Paralleling the Real Deal: Build With K’NEX!

During September, 24 kids and four high school volunteers met weekly at The Trove at White Plains Public Library. Their mission: to build replicas of the New NY Bridge and the I Lift NY super crane using K’NEX pieces.

Teamwork, learning, creativity/New NY Bridge Outreach

Teamwork, learning, creativity/New NY Bridge Outreach

Children’s librarian Terry Rabideau found it interesting to see how the kids each chose different jobs within their teams. “Some would find the K’NEX pieces, and some would actually build. Some were problem-solvers and figured out how the pieces fit together,’ she said.

While The Trove’s LEGO® Build Club meets each month, the library never hosted a short-term project like Build With K’NEX! for which kids work as a team. “What was fun was watching them come back every week, knowing they had to continue where they left off,” she said. Just like construction crew at the project site.

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

“It gave them a great sense of pride and accomplishment,” Rabideau said. The month ended with participants receiving special certificates and enjoying a cookies-and-juice party with their parents. “Many of the adults hadn’t seen the structures and were amazed at what the kids built,” Rabideau said.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

And the Year’s Not Over Yet . . .

We’re on super crane watch now. Remember how we followed the I Lift NY‘s journey with escort tug boats Lauren Foss and Iver Foss?

Obama fast-tracked the TZB project/© Janie Rosman 2014

Obama fast-tracked the TZB project/© Janie Rosman 2014

And then we had company.

“At times you can see the river through the cracks of the pavement,” President Barack Obama said May 14 in his 16-minute speech at Sunset Cove Restaurant. “Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.”

Mr. President, the Thruway Authority spent three-quarters of a million dollars on a deck replacement project.

Further, if the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) expired today, then the Department of Transportation’s power to spend on highway, bridge, and transit projects would have, too. Congress came through after all.

First two support columns for the NNYB's Westchester approach span/© Meredith Zaritheny 2014

First two support columns for the NNYB’s Westchester approach span/© Meredith Zaritheny 2014

Not long after the president’s visit was a June 5 media tour that focused on pile cleansing, capping and installation. On July 31 we saw the first of two mobile floating batch plants, and the most recent (September 10) tour focused on base pier caps and support columns.

Photos from that day are courtesy of Time Warner Cable® News reporter and videojournalist Meredith Zaritheny.

Base pier cap supports 1 column/© Meredith Zaritheny 2014

Base pier cap supports 1 column/© Meredith Zaritheny 2014

“I first heard of the project three years ago, and we just finished the design in June,” Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) President Darrell Waters reiterated during an August 12 historic tour. Two weeks earlier, reporters saw one of the 14-foot thick main span platform that would cover the main span’s steel pilings.

“It’s 360-plus feet long (with) a concrete precast bottom in it that sits over the piles,” Waters explained of the massive 60-foot wide pile cap cap. Once it’s submerged eight feet into the river and pumped free of water, the piles are sealed, rebar is added, and the cap is filled with 11,000 cubic yards of concrete.

Construction crews hope to set their first piece of steel on the new bridge by the end of the year.

“Between now and then, you’ll see the foundations rising, you’ll see columns coming up to meet these big pier caps we have, we’ll set those, and right after that, we put the bridge spans on it,” he said.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

South Nyack Waits While Engineers Study Ideas

June was a long time ago. That’s when I told you South Nyack residents would soon meet with project officials about Exit 10 and the shared use path.

Aerial view: note the hairpin right turn from S. Broadway

Aerial view: note the hairpin right turn from S. Broadway

Project team members are “currently working on a parking demand study to better estimate how many pedestrians and bicyclists will use the new bridge,” special project advisor Brian Conybeare said at the time.

How can they tell? If designers included a shared use path into the bridge, then they figured people would use it. How many and when? During park hours for starters.

July came and went. So did August and September, which ends tomorrow. No meeting in sight. Each time I asked Mayor Bonnie Christian (most recently on September 13), she said she’s waiting to hear back.

Engineers are still examining residents’ and shareholders’ ideas to see if they’re feasible and cost-effective, and what is their potential (if any) environmental impact. In July, they needed more time to develop the concepts; before that, they were studying other similar locations. Will they tell us which ones?

Dangerous corners: I-87 entrance at Cornelison and S. Bway

Dangerous corners: I-87 entrance at Cornelison and S. Bway

Initially, the SUP terminus was Smith Avenue, a tiny dead-end street off Piermont Avenue. A second plan, reflecting changes sought by the village, extended it to the intersection of South Broadway and Cornelison Avenue, with parking at the Village Hall site.

Residents are angry about the workshop setting — 10 people to a group studying an idea, then reporting back to the entire audience — instead of an assembly, claiming a workshop limits people’s input, and their communication, whereas in an assembly, the entire room can hear everyone’s comments.

“It’s a dangerous intersection with cars and school buses. How is a bus going to make that hairpin right-hand turn? Someone is going to die,” neighborhood advocate Cliff Weathers said. “In a workshop, only a few people talk about something, and then report back to the group. We need a public forum, where everyone in the room can hear what everyone else is saying.”

I hope that changes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We are doing all that we can to make this the most open and transparent infrastructure project in New York state history.”

Well? Why not call a meeting and share what you know so far? Project engineers need more time for studies? Meet with residents and shareholders. Tell them. Silence is offputting, and waiting builds tension when questions are unanswered.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Lane Closures, Overnight Detour Next Week

A friend told me about northbound traffic yesterday just past Exit 9. Said it reminded her of her commuting days, when the train pulled away from its Grand Central Station platform only to stall just beyond it.

The Scream/Norwegian painter Edvard Munch

The Scream/Norwegian painter Edvard Munch

Telltale orange cones. One less lane. I’ve seen drivers pull into an on-ramp (that eventually ends) to “get ahead” of the other cars. The sense?

That said, the Exit 9 on-ramp from Route 119 in Tarrytown will close from Tuesday, September 30, at 8 p.m., to Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 4:30 a.m.

One detour is approximately 1.5 miles east on Route 119/White Plains Road to Exit 8A in Elmsford per map below. OK if you’re in that area.

detour map

My suggestion if you’re already in Tarrytown or Sleepy Hollow:

Take Benedict Avenue at South Broadway through to Route 119/White Plains Road in Greenburgh. Turn left at the light, and continue to I-87/I-287 north/west (sign is on the left).

Map, markers and route are courtesy of Yahoo! Maps

Map, markers and route are courtesy of Yahoo! Maps

Yom Kippur begins Friday evening and ends Saturday evening.

Some southbound lanes from the Nyack approach to the Tarrytown toll plaza — including both 35-mph E-ZPass® lanes — will be closed on Friday, Oct. 3, from 10 p.m. to Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6 a.m. Check here for details about lane shifts and closures.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

It’s Throwback Thursday . . .

Something really cool happened.

In June, I was invited on a media boat tour of the project site. Accompanied by a notebook and my Nikon Coolpix L22, I listened and learned, and wrote a blog post and one of several articles.

Pile cleansing machines/© Janie Rosman 2014

Pile cleansing machines/© Janie Rosman 2014

And I’m REALLY excited that the above photo — taken by yours truly during that tour — was requested for the October/November issue of Navigator Publishing.

Thank you to Will Van Dorp, who blogs at tugster: a waterblog, for connecting me with Professional Mariner editor Dom Yanchunas. My picture appears on page 13, the first page of a two-page article:

page 1 of story

Here’s the second page:

page 2 of story

I’ve since been using a tape recorder, thanks to a friend’s suggestion. And the Nikon? Well, I’ve plenty more hi-res photos of the project site for anyone who’s interested in buying them <grin>.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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