Fourth Graders Amazed by Bridge Presentation

old and new artStudents at Greenvale and Anne Hutchinson schools gave the state’s most talked-about infrastructure project high marks after the New NY Bridge outreach team visited their schools last week.

“I want to know if any of you travel across the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Greenvale principal Darrell Stinchcomb asked. “Yessss,” the 4th grade replied in unison.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) education is integrated into the curriculum. The “Teamwork and Innovation” presentation showed them where career paths might lead.

“There are a lot of things going on with the bridge, which is a major project,” Stinchcomb said. “This is an exciting time, and we’re right in the heart of it.”

Greenvale principal Darrell Stinchcomb tells 4th-grade classes the new bridge is part of the area’s history/NYSTA

Greenvale principal Darrell Stinchcomb tells 4th-grade classes the new bridge is part of the area’s history/NYSTA

Many kids nodded when he said the project will be written into future Disney books and social studies books. They know what the bridge is, and they’ve driven across it with their parents and had appreciative words and insightful questions.

No sooner did presenter Dan Marcy begin talking than one student raised his hand. “Where is the longest bridge in the world?” he asked.

Marcy suggested it might be found in China or Japan. No stumping the pros; it’s the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge in China, part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, and is 102.4 miles long, At 34 miles long, the six-lane Bang Na expressway in Thailand is the world’s longest road bridge.

Some students in Kati Curry’s class at Anne Hutchinson shared their thoughts.

“The assembly was amazing because they gave a lot of details about how everything works with the bridge.” — Elena D.

Kids’ attention was fixed on the most recent “Project Progress 2015: Two Years Work in Two Minutes,” which Celia C. liked. ‘It was a great assembly because we got updated,” she said.

falcon feedingOf importance to Chigozie E were measures in place for protecting the Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon and the oyster relocation program during pile driving and construction. A photo of three Peregrine falcon chicks born last year drew “Awwws” from the kids. We hear the new chick born last month now has a name.

Ava B. was happy to hear construction crews “are planning to make the bridge safe in disasters,” referring to its sturdy foundations and seismic isolation bearings — to isolate it from the next 2,500-year earthquake — as the current bridge sits atop a fault line.

“The lower part of the bridge and the foundations would move, while the upper portion of the bridge containing the road deck and vehicles would stay stationary,” Marcy said.

“I think it was amazing that as they’re the building the bridge, they are thinking of people’s safety.” — Julia T.

Marcy explained about lanes and shoulders on the road and how the current bridge has no place for a car to pull over in an emergency.

Sections of 6’ and 4’ pilings, used for the new bridge’s foundation, at the Outreach Centers/© Janie Rosman 2016

Sections of 6’ and 4’ pilings, used for the new bridge’s foundation, at the Outreach Centers/© Janie Rosman 2016

“The southern span will be 87 feet wide, the width of the current bridge, and the northern span will be even wider at 96 feet and will have the new walking path,” he said. “Next year in 2017 or at the end of your school year, we’re going to be shifting traffic onto the new northern span.” Once that span is finished, southbound traffic will shift back to the second span, and the walking path will open in 2018.

Hearing they can take their bicycles and scooters on the path brought smiles.

Several students had questions after hearing about building information modeling (BIM) technology that enables designers to see the project virtually: which piece will need to be replaced, its length and where to place it.

Dramatic lighting can be programmed remotely/NYSTA

Dramatic lighting can be programmed remotely/NYSTA

Hailey M. was fascinated by the possibilities of LED lighting in different colors for sport teams or holidays like the Fourth of July. Its 2,700 color lights and 500 white lights are from Philips Lighting, the same company that brightens Madison Square Garden.

More than 5,000 people have worked on the bridge since the project began. Several crew members — a dock builder, a main span superintendent, a carpenter, a crew boat captain, an environmental inspector, a concrete plant foreman, and a crane operator — described their jobs in the video “Building a Landmark.”

“It was nice how they came in and talked about the structure and the materials that they used to create the bridge.” — Michelle T.

Stinchcomb is right: this is an exciting time for the Hudson Valley, the state and for students and educators as the project progresses during the next two years. Corresponding education modules are “Bridge Rising” for year four and “Bridging the Future—Class of 2018” for year five.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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