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.

* * * * *

“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

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