Archive for November, 2015|Monthly archive page

South Nyack TZ Task Force: Concepts for Exit 10

It’s a new day for South Nyack, whose Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force will present concepts for redeveloping Exit 10 property at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.

South Nyack looks to redevelop Interchange 10 land in 2018/©1999-2005 by N. W. Perry.

South Nyack looks to redevelop Interchange 10 land in 2018/©1999-2005 by N. W. Perry.

One year ago the village published its Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking bids for a feasibility study (for which it received a $250,000 grant from the project’s Community Benefits Program). In May the state decided to relocate the shared use path terminus after residents protested the location would pose traffic and safety problems in their quiet neighborhood.

The land is and will remain a staging area until the bridge project is completed.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Red Lights for Blue Girders: Not the First Time

A man in a compact car was to blame.

With cars whizzing by to my left there was no way to safely exit the slow crawl he was creating. Finally I saw an opening to safely change lanes and drove past him.

The bright blue steel girders are one reason some drivers slow down on the bridge./NYSTA

The bright blue steel girders are one reason some drivers slow down on the bridge./NYSTA

His head was turned to the right; I think I saw a cell phone in his left hand, which was on the steering wheel. As I neared Rockland I noticed other cars braked near the girders so their drivers could get a better look . . . mine was one of them.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Thu, Fri Nights: Exit 10 S’bound On-Ramp Closed

Evening drivers, this is for you:

Tonight and tomorrow night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day, access to the Thruway southbound will be via Route 59 in Nyack while the Exit 10 on-ramp is temporarily closed. Work on the electronic toll gantry continues.

detour

Next week, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) will continue installing structural steel girder assemblies from the new bridge’s Westchester landing in Tarrytown.

A girder assembly is slowly being pushed over Metro-North train tracks to a pier/NYSTA

A girder assembly is slowly being pushed over Metro-North train tracks to a pier/NYSTA

The bridge builder will push the assemblies over the train via the process seen here (blog post with video and photo). Metro-North adjusted its schedule slightly for tomorrow night. Project officials said work will be announced in advance so Metro-North riders can plan ahead.

That’s it. One. Day’s. Notice.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Repost from Riverkeeper, Inc.: Fisheries Service agrees to re-examine Tappan Zee Bridge project as reports of dead sturgeon continue to mount

While the three-month dredging period began Riverkeeper, Inc. called upon the National Marine Fisheries Service to act immediately and protect the Hudson River fish while investigating an increase in sturgeon fatalities.

Six sturgeon fatalities throughout the estuary were reported to the state Department of Environmental Conservation between 2009 and 2011 — and nearly 13 times that amount (76 sturgeon fatalities) were reported between 2012 and 2014 (since construction began). See full Riverkeeper article here.

The following is reposted with permission from Riverkeeper, Inc.

Sturgeon photographed at beach in Upper Nyack on April 20, 2013/Photo: Daniel Wolff

Sturgeon photographed at beach in Upper Nyack on April 20, 2013/Photo: Daniel Wolff

Ossining, N.Y. – The National Marine Fisheries Service is re-examining the impact of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project on endangered Hudson River sturgeon, following a petition by Riverkeeper that highlighted an alarming increase in reported sturgeon deaths. Riverkeeper continues to call for federal action to protect the fish.

Records kept by New York State show a continuing surge in the number of sturgeon found dead along the Hudson River Estuary since the massive construction project began. The timing of the mortality increase aligns almost exactly with the start of bridge construction in 2012.

During 2012, when crews began installing test piles for the new bridge, eight sturgeon deaths were reported to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. That was more than in the four prior years combined.

In 2013, when construction began in earnest, 25 sturgeon deaths were reported. In 2014, 43 were reported. And so far in 2015, 46 have been reported.

sturgeon chart

In the four years prior to construction, six dead sturgeon were reported. In the four years since construction started, 122 were reported. Since the start of construction, reported mortality has increased more than 20 times.

Often, sturgeon were found cut in half, gashed or severed at the head or tail due to vessel strikes. Necropsies on two sturgeon recovered by bridge construction crews close to the construction site in June 2015 (Atlantic sturgeon) and August 2015 (shortnose sturgeon), found that the deaths were likely caused by vessel strikes. A third sturgeon (shortnose) found by construction crews, in May 2014, was deemed possibly killed by a vessel strike.

Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, representing Riverkeeper, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) July 9 to renew its examination of the bridge project and take immediate additional action to protect sturgeon from dangers posed by construction activities. The federal agency, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is responsible for protecting endangered marine species.

Riverkeeper has learned that the Fisheries Service, as requested, has “reinitiated consultation” with the Federal Highway Administration, the lead agency for the bridge replacement project.

“We are pleased that the Fisheries Service has agreed to review the bridge project in light of the increased sturgeon mortality since 2012. However, ‘reinitiating consultation’ will not, in itself, increase protection for the sturgeon in any way whatsoever,” Riverkeeper Patrol Boat Captain John Lipscomb said. “It remains to be seen whether the Fisheries Service will require the contractor or the Thruway Authority to modify construction activity in order to provide additional protection for sturgeon.”

Before construction started, the Fisheries Service closely studied the project’s potential threat to endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon. In a series of “biological opinions,” it concluded that the bridge replacement project was “likely to adversely affect, but not likely to jeopardize the continued existence” of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon so long as sturgeon impacts were kept within the confines of an “Incidental Take Statement.” It allowed that dredging and pile driving would likely cause the deaths of two shortnose sturgeon and two Atlantic sturgeon over the anticipated five-year course of the project, and that if “take” remained within these numbers, the project would not likely further jeopardize the two endangered sturgeon species.

This toll was deemed the “incidental take,” permitted by the Fisheries Service and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. While NMFS allows the deaths of two sturgeon from each species, it specifies that none of the mortalities may be adult Atlantic sturgeon, and no mortality should result from vessel strikes.

In weighing the threat from vessel strikes, NMFS assumed that all project vessels would travel at “slow speeds, less than 6 knots” (6.9 miles per hour) in the construction zone. Riverkeeper has observed project vessels routinely traveling at much faster speeds in the zone, including wide areas of shallow water where sturgeon are in close proximity to vessels and their dangerous propellers. NMFS states that “sturgeon may also be better able to avoid slow moving vessels than fast ones.”

The reality is, the DEC records indicate that more than 50 percent of the sturgeon found dead had signs of vessel or propeller strikes.

Riverkeeper seeks enforcement of the speed limit and other protective measures that are best determined by fisheries experts but that could include propeller cages or jet-powered boats to reduce the risk to sturgeon.

By reinitiating consultation, the agency will determine whether increased protections are necessary to protect sturgeon from bridge construction activities, and if so, what those protections should be. According to the Fisheries Service, this process should be completed later this fall.

Riverkeeper Petition to National Marine Fisheries Service

Exhibits: DEC spreadsheets on sturgeon mortality reports, 2007-2014

DEC spreadsheets on sturgeon mortality reports, 2015

DEC spreadsheets on sturgeon mortality reports, September 2015

DEC spreadsheets on sturgeon mortality reports, October 2015

Sturgeon necropsy report, June 2014

Sturgeon necropsy report, November 2014

Sturgeon necropsy report, June 2015

Sturgeon necropsy report, September 2015

© 2009-2015 Riverkeeper, Inc., 20 Secor Road, Ossining, New York 10562. Call 800-21-RIVER or email info@riverkeeper.org.

NNYB Art and Life: The Twain Creatively Meets

“Combine the two, make the engineer sketch like an artist and make the artist analyze like an engineer, and you are half-way there.” — German designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann.

Model of two-column pier atop pile cap and piles against backdrop of its likeness/NNYB

Model of two-column pier atop pile cap and piles against backdrop of its likeness/NNYB

There’s art in the pile arrangements . . .

One of the largest approach span pile caps placed on a group of foundation piles/NYSTA

One of the largest approach span pile caps placed on a group of foundation piles/NYSTA

and in the pier columns . . .

Pair of pier columns that are ready for the project’s first-ever pier cap placement/NYSTA

Pair of pier columns that are ready for the project’s first-ever pier cap placement/NYSTA

and in the colorful super crane . . .

I Lift NY super crane makes first pier cap placement near Westchester shoreline/NYSTA

I Lift NY super crane makes first pier cap placement near Westchester shoreline/NYSTA

and evidenced by sculpture in the river . . .

Piers are topped w/prefabricated caps prepared offsite and delivered via barge/NYSTA

Piers are topped w/prefabricated caps prepared offsite and delivered via barge/NYSTA

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

%d bloggers like this: