Archive for January, 2016|Monthly archive page

Overnight Closures This Week: Exits 10 and 11 Southbound On-ramps, and Southbound Lanes

This week project crews see how the electronic toll system gets along with traffic/NYSTA

This week project crews see how the electronic toll system gets along with traffic/NYSTA

Last July I wrote about the system that would be taking our money electronically by now. Things happen. It’s being tested and will be ready for use this spring.

As a result, Exit 10 (South Nyack) and Exit 11 (Nyack) southbound on-ramps will be closed Wednesday through Sunday nights. Your best bet is to use the Exit 12 southbound ramp on Route 303 in West Nyack; check detour signs.

It also means lane southbound lane closures overnight this week.

Rockland_OnRamp_2016_1_28v2

For details and other project information click here.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

New Technology: Yes for the Bridge, No in my Car

Strikingly beautiful sunset greets riders one February evening last year/ © J Rosman 2015

Strikingly beautiful sunset greets riders one February evening last year/ © J Rosman 2015

Tuesday night I went to a Board of Education meeting and heard the principal of one elementary school talk about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) learning exercises for five-year-olds.

When they grow up and start to drive they’ll appreciate the new technology in cars. I don’t and am looking for one whose dashboard will neither outshine the highway lights (tonight there were no lights in some places, only reflectors) nor blind me. Yes, yes, there’s the dashboard rheostat.

They may want to know more about the new bridge’s LED lighting — 2,700 color lights that can be programmed remotely for variable shades and 500 white lights — from Philips Lighting, the same company that brightens Madison Square Garden.

Philips said the new system, the first of its kind in the industry, will combine roadway and architectural lighting and is estimated to be 75 percent more energy-efficient than traditional lighting.

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The odometer said eight miles when I picked it up in early August 1998. Nearing 133,000 miles, this is a terrific car.

I learned how to back up using mirrors and to get from A to B looking at street signs and asking people for directions. I know which radio buttons are set to which stations. While I appreciate technology and how it makes life easier, I don’t understand why all cars must have Bluetooth technology. Even before New York State’s 2001 law banned hand-held cell phones while driving, I found it distracting to do both.

In fact it is distracted driving.

My first car had an AM-only radio and leaky window sealant. It cost $5 to fill, which I did once a week on the way to community college. My second turned out to be a lemon bought from a school district superintendent so long ago that people might not remember. I won’t reveal it in case someone does know him. That car was a clunker!

My third car had lumbar support that wasn’t meant for the model, an added benefit. Eleven years later I sold it and got my fourth car. None had Bluetooth technology or a camera for backing up or an illuminated radio on the dashboard.

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Kids learning about STEAM will love the newest technology in cars when they start driving. Maybe one will engineer an “older model” dashboard for people like me.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Battling Winter Weather and Staying on Schedule

Making it through winters safely, staying on schedule/EarthCam® construction camera

Making it through winters safely, staying on schedule/EarthCam® construction camera

Coffee. Check. Milk. Check. Salad. Check. Ingredients for chocolate brownies. Check. And so on. These and other supplies are my musts for emergencies, and we’re in one.

As it did for three days last year, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, (TZC) took precautions for the nor’easter, which began early this morning; Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency at 10 a.m. for New York City, Long Island and downstate counties throughout the Hudson Valley.

I digress for a moment to yesterday, when I drove to Rockland in the pre-storm afternoon. It was quiet on the water while TZC prepared for its arrival.

Having fun while learning how cranes work/NNYB Outreach

Having fun while learning how cranes work/NNYB Outreach

Those blue jump forms and the main span towers they’re helping build are very visible from the Westchester approach span. I kept checking as I drove; the towers were close enough to see clearly. I wished I’d had a passenger in my car to take pictures of the tower cranes next to them. (Note to project officials: eye-level, seen through the bridge’s beams, would be a very cool picture.) I recently finished an article about educational outreach and included tower cranes and the Tower Crane Challenge. This adorable picture was taken last year with permission from the little one’s parent. He probably doesn’t know about the tower cranes in the water as he concentrates on having fun.

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“Mother Nature has again decided to come visit us in an extreme way,” Cuomo said last January and declared a State of Emergency for all downstate counties throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

Its Inclement Weather protocol placed multiple tugs on the water 24/7, inspected and adjusted all mooring lines prior to the event, inspected crane barges and secured equipment, moved most of its cranes to shallow water and removed all smaller crew boats from the river.

Work at Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania fabrication shops continued there at Port of Coeymans, one of TZC’s staging yards and the assembly site for hundreds of those pretty blue girders you see while driving.

Another turn of the calendar brought us more of the same. “This is not the worst forecast that we’ve ever received but it is significant, and it should not be taken lightly,” Cuomo said today.

Trucking through a snowstorm on the Tappan Zee Bridge (not the same day) /© Wn.com

Trucking through a snowstorm on the Tappan Zee Bridge (not the same day) /© Wn.com

Through it all the project is now in its fourth year, and while the first span will open in early 2017 instead of at the end of this year, folks, we are going to have a brand new bridge on time.

I remember a meeting the summer before the project began; then state DOT Project Director Michael Anderson told the crowd — that was demanding answers about sound barriers — that the five-year project “won’t be five years of everything,” and that traffic will switch to the new bridge sometime during the fourth year (2017).

The plan was to move west/northbound traffic to the new span in December 2016, and two months later (February 2017) to move east/southbound traffic as well. Former Executive Director Robert L. Megna decided in early November to postpone the first opening until spring 2017.

So while Anderson was referring to noise and inconvenience his statement about the timetable was spot on! Through a batch plant mishap, harsh winters and uncomfortable summers, the project continued.

Last week TZC installed the 650th concrete road deck panel for that westbound span; by December 6,650 panels will be installed. Folks, next year we’ll be driving on them . . . and I’ll finally be able to see what’s doing from eye level.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

South Nyack: Consultants Discuss Positive Options

Blue steel girders seem invisible or appear as outlines/EarthCam® construction camera

Blue steel girders seem invisible or appear as outlines/EarthCam® construction camera

While you might not see them immediately you’d be able to make out their forms if you stared long enough and your eyes adjusted to the dark. That would be some trick at 60 miles per hour.

I knew where they were yet what I saw was barely visible as it blended into the dark Tuesday night sky. For a few minutes I saw the necklace lighting and the super crane illuminated like what might be a giant sea monster. I talked about this before: the Rockland side offers a pretty night view of the project for those few seconds as you near the approach span heading east.

* * * * *

A good-sized crowd attended the meeting to hear consultants outline possibilities for redeveloping South Nyack. They talked about Exit 10, the village’s geography and topography and offered suggestions for connecting the dissected halves and finding ways to generate revenue.

My street is off the Bronx River Parkway, and  on Bicycle Sundays it and the area become a parking lot. The term may be old; the implications are not. Forget that people park and walk to the train station at the other end of the street daily to avoid parking fees. So I get it. One big step for the village was getting the shared use path terminus moved onto Thruway property.

As one consultant said, the next steps are to identify alternatives for Exit 10, come up with urban designs to accommodate the economic development areas and then find ways to implement the ideas.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

It’s Nearly One Thousand Ninety-Five Days Later

Crews place road deck panels on top of the blue girders we can see while driving/NYSTA

Crews place road deck panels on top of the blue girders we can see while driving/NYSTA

Can you believe three years went by so fast? I know. Neither can I. It seems like yesterday the New NY Bridge project was approved for a ginormous TIFIA loan. Word came 10 months after Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, started the project; the deal was finalized before the year ended.

Fluffy clouds painted onto a blue sky/© Janie Rosman 2014

Fluffy clouds painted onto a blue sky/© Janie Rosman 2014

Every time I got into a boat on the river was exciting for me, even when the weather was against me the day the super crane made its first placement. The sky and colorful machinery are a terrific contrast with the stark bridge.

If someone asked what was the most exciting I’d say it was last June, when we stood under the bridge near the Rockland side and watched the super crane place the first girder assembly. We had a perfect view of the project from river level and saw the piers in various stages of completion.

Placements can take from 1 to 4 hours/© Janie Rosman 2015

Placements can take from 1 to 4 hours/© Janie Rosman 2015

Something else I noticed when I downloaded the pictures was the crew’s fixed attention as it was happening so I cropped one picture and enlarged that section of it.

One reader suggested I document the project’s first 1,000 days. It’s a terrific idea. So much has happened between January 18, 2013, and October 15, 2015. That 1,000th day was two months short of the Tappan Zee’s 60th birthday and for some kids a special celebration. Do you notice people sometimes say the current bridge as if there are two?

Perception: cars and trucks look small/© Janie Rosman 2014

Perception: cars and trucks look small/© Janie Rosman 2014

One favorite picture from a June 2014 media tour offers size perspective: a huge truck on the bridge is tiny when you see it going by, and while the bridge is large, it pales in size next to the huge cranes and various-sized barges they’re mounted on and that move them to where they’re needed.

Year four starts Monday as the project moves closer to its spring 2018 completion date. The first meeting I covered was in March 2012;  the following April came this blog, where I post several times each week. To read a synopsis of the project by year click here, here and here.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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