Archive for the ‘I Lift NY’ Category

ICYMI: Building Bridges: New York Increases Infrastructure Plans

Tarrytown, N.Y. – During a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hudson Valley’s newest bridge last August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted the state’s projects. “I believe our mojo is back. Our confidence is back, our energy is back, and we know and we have proven that there is nothing that we can’t do when we work together.”

The $1 trillion promise made by Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign was also on the governor’s mind. “So far, nothing has materialized,” Cuomo said, one day before the westbound span of the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, named after his late father, opened immediately north of the Tappan Zee Bridge it replaces. “But New York is not waiting for the federal government.”

Acknowledging deficient infrastructure exacerbated by dwindling money to repair or replace it – and now in office little more than one year – President Trump presented instead a $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending plan, a $200 billion package that shifts financial burden onto states and private investors during the next 10 years.

A $100 billion infrastructure plan outlined in Cuomo’s 2016 agenda includes modernizing several airports, building a new LaGuardia Airport, increasing the capacity of public transportation, renovating Penn Station, expanding the Javits Convention Center in New York City, and investing in roads, bridges and tunnels.

“There’s one word: commitment,” New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll says. “It goes without saying there are a lot of infrastructure challenges, and we’re working closely with federal partners (and) our Congressional delegation.”

Equally important, Driscoll notes, are the 2,500 local-level projects across the state. “These are very important to local economies and transportation needs, and while it’s a big undertaking, the resources are there.”

Cuomo focused on replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge after talks in 1999 to include it in a 30-mile improvement project along Interstate 287 stalled for the next 10 years. Nearly 140,000 vehicles crossed the 3.1-mile Tappan Zee Bridge at one of the Hudson River’s widest points daily; the river was visible through cracks in the pavement even with the Thruway Authority’s recent deck replacement program that began in 2007 and continued into 2013.

“At times you can see the river through the cracks of the pavement,” then-President Barack Obama said about the Tappan Zee during a May 2014 visit to the Hudson Valley. “Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.”

Key elements that determine the status of a bridge are its deck or its superstructure (above the deck) or the supports beneath the deck. Ratings are based upon biennial bridge inspections; state and local governments submit the data to the Federal Highway Administration as part of the National Bridge Inventory. “Not every bridge that gets fixed is structurally deficient,” American Road & Transportation Builders Association Economist Alison Premo Black says.

ARTBA reports the average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 67 years, compared to 40 years for non-deficient bridges; states have identified needed repairs on nearly one-third of U.S. bridges. The Tappan Zee Bridge was retired in early October, two months short of its 62nd birthday.

With support from Obama and the U.S. Department of Transportation through design-build legislation signed by Cuomo in December 2011 and a fast-tracked federal environmental review and procurement process, the Empire State’s bridge replacement project (named the New NY Bridge Project) forged ahead in early 2012 when the state released its Request for Proposals.

“Design-build ignites the private sector’s ability to innovate,” Driscoll says. “It’s worked well at the state level, too, as the Department of Transportation has completed projects with design-build. It’s more cost-effective and accelerates efforts.”

When a team is hired together, it can order supplies in advance, especially if there’s a shortage of materials and a six- to eight-week window before materials arrive. “This allows them to innovate and discuss what will and won’t work early on. For example, an architect may suggest something that is too expensive for a plumber to deliver on budget,” explains Lisa Washington, executive director and CEO at Design-Build Institute of America in Washington.

Consortium Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) won the $3.98 billion contract thanks to its massive crane, the Left Coast Lifter (nicknamed I Lift NY) that reduced dredging needs by 50 percent and saved New York $1 billion. The projected cost was originally expected to exceed $5 billion. With the ability to lift 12 Statues of Liberty, the crane is hoisting and placing sections of steel and concrete onto the new bridge and is helping dismantle the old bridge. Its two moveable barriers and 133 of its deck panels will be sent to other state and local municipalities.

“Engineering professionals involved in project delivery, who regularly evaluate mistakes that make it from design to construction, observed around 80 percent of errors are created when the source engineering data is communicated through traditional plans sheets,” says Danny Kahler, principal at Kahler Engineering Group in Dallas and past chair of American Society of Civil Engineers Digital Project Delivery committee.

TZC is also using building information modeling (BIM), which is “one type of software, among many others, that helps manage the information of design and construction, especially in the vertical market,” Kahler says. “It’s the exploitation of the actual engineering data that has the potential to save time and money.”

The second span of the Cuomo Bridge is slated to open to traffic sometime this year and on budget with eight traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, a state-of-the-art traffic monitoring system, a dedicated bus lane, room for future light rail, cashless tolling and LED lighting. Crews will then build the walking/bicycle path the new bridge’s northern span.

While the lower Hudson Valley’s newest bridge is the one of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects in the country, it has not been the only one. Two immense projects were the Interstate-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, which collapsed in 2007 during evening rush hour, and the Pentagon project just outside of the nation’s capital.

Even with harsh winters, the I-35W Bridge was completed in less than one year – three months ahead of schedule – and cost $234 million, excluding contractor bonuses for completing it earlier than planned. “The team committed to building it better and took a limited budget, partnering early on with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and building the bridge for a 100-year life span,” Washington says.

One of the nation’s largest design-build projects – the $1.2 billion, 20-year Pentagon Renovation Program (known as PenRen) – was already underway when the building was attacked on 9/11. Its model jump-started the post-9/11 Phoenix Project, which was launched immediately with a $500 million budget and a goal of reopening the damaged wings before the first anniversary. It was finished 28 days ahead of schedule and nearly $194 million under budget.

While states may have to jockey for federal money, the Empire State is taking the lead with robust plans. For the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, Cuomo believes “it was our New York energy, our New York attitude, it was our New York drive that made it happen.”

My article was originally published in U.S. News & World Report April 2, 2018.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

Final Steel Assembly & Removing TZB Roadway

Last week (April 12), the super crane placed the final steel girder assembly on the eastbound span. Crews continue placing additional small, unattached girders near Rockland so the span will connect to land.

The I Lift NY has been installing the blue steel assemblies since June 2015. I was there and saw the massive crane lift the first blue steel assembly from the barge that brought it downriver. Very exciting!

Photos are courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority. Above, a mobile crane removes pieces of the Tappan Zee Bridge’s roadway. As the super crane ceased work on the new bridge, it will remove sections of the TZB’s large steel truss during the coming week; they’ll be placed on barges and eventually recycled.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

Simultaneously Building and Dismantling

You might be planning to take it easy this weekend; however, the super crane will be working on the eastbound span near Westchester. Nearly two-and-one-half years ago, rews installed steel girders across the Metro-North tracks. The girders will connect the Westchester abutment to that span’s land piers Saturday night to Sunday morning.

Metro-North will suspend trains from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Expect an extra 25-minute delay. For detailed MTA information, click here.

Don’t forget to move your clocks ahead one hour.

And then there’s the Tappan Zee Bridge or what remains of it per a southeastern view of its piers from Rockland. Photos courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

Inside Story of how TZC built the new TZ Bridge

Four years after its first foundational steel piles were driven into the river bed, one span of the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland counties in New York State opened to westbound traffic this past August.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the twin span, cable-stayed bridge named after his father, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo drove eastbound across the new span with Sleepy Hollow resident and Bronze Star recipient Armando “Chick” Galella in a 1955 Corvette, the same model year Corvette Galella drove with Governor W. Averell Harriman as part of the Tappan Zee Bridge’s December 15, 1955, inaugural procession.

This remarkable transition reflects the tireless efforts of thousands of men and women from Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC), a consortium of some of the world’s best-known and most highly-regarded design, engineering and construction firms.

In October, and weeks ahead of schedule, the Tappan Zee Bridge was retired, and eastbound traffic moved from that bridge to the new span. This allowed the design-build team to begin dismantling the old structure — including the steel and concrete above River Road in Rockland County — and to continue work on the eastbound span, which will open in 2018.

TZC’s first task involved removing the old bridge’s landings, which occupy the same footprint as the second span’s connections to the New York State Thruway. This was accomplished by cutting and dividing sections of steel and concrete into manageable sections, then using barge-based cranes to transport the materials away from the project site.

Transportation barges will carry the materials to ancillary facilities including the Port of Coeymans in Albany County. Many concrete materials and steel trusses will be recycled. More than 130 deck panels units, each approximately 13 feet wide by 50 feet long, will also be given to nearly a dozen state and local municipalities to be repurposed for other bridges and roadways.

Upcoming key operations include lowering of the old bridge’s main span steel cage via hydraulic jacks, and the removal of piles, piers and caissons with foundational material being removed below the bottom of the river. TZC will continue to remove pieces of the old bridge throughout the year, starting from the Rockland and Westchester landings and working toward the middle of the Hudson River.

Work on the new bridge’s eastbound span will continue throughout 2017 and into 2018. Once it opens to traffic, crews will begin building the new bicycle and pedestrian path on the westbound span. Features include six overlooks (resting points), visitor parking and pavilions; and interpretive exhibits, art and signage.

The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge features an aesthetic lighting system that accentuates the iconic features of the new bridge, specifically its 419-foot towers, stay cables and concrete piers. TZC conducted numerous lighting tests throughout the year to help confirm the aiming angles of each lighting fixture, which needed to precisely follow the rendering plan set forth by lighting designers.

The project’s Visual Quality Panel, made up of the local community and design professionals, helped TZC develop the lighting plan. TZC prepared for these systems well in advance, installing parts of the utility and systems infrastructure into the steel girder assemblies that were fabricated offsite, reducing the amount of work required over the Hudson River.

Once the steel was safely secured atop the bridge’s concrete piers, TZC electricians began splicing and extending material, tying the bridge utilities into the systems in Rockland and Westchester counties. Utility lines provide electricity for the roadway and aesthetic lighting systems, and will also power the bridge’s structural health monitors, security systems and Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Much like the bridge’s roadway lighting, the aesthetic lighting utilizes energy-efficient light emitting diodes, or LEDs. The project’s LEDs are designed with 100,000-hour lifespans, using an estimated 75 percent less energy compared to traditional lighting technology.

TZC is utilizing modular construction techniques to create large sections of the bridge’s foundations, roadway and superstructure on-land. This allows TZC to safely prepare massive segments of the bridge off-site ahead of time, with some steel sections measuring up to 410 feet in length. Its ability to install these bridge elements is aided by the I Lift NY, whose enormous 328-foot lift arm can lift up to 1,900 tons of material — the equivalent of 12 Statues of Liberty at once.

This extraordinary lifting power, which shortened construction time by months from original estimates and reduce project costs by millions of dollars, will also help dismantle the old Tappan Zee Bridge.

Other innovative equipment includes: TZC’s mobile concrete batch plants that supply the majority of the structure’s concrete directly on the river, self-climbing jump forms that rose along with construction efforts to create the iconic main span towers, protective bubble curtains used to absorb the energy produced during pile driving; and the synchronized jacks used to lower football-field-length foundations into the Hudson River.

TZC is also constructing two buildings in Tarrytown: the Thruway Authority’s new maintenance facility and a new State Police facility. The buildings will improve bridge access for State Police and Thruway personnel responsible for maintenance, operations and security and will also allow emergency crews to quickly respond to vehicle breakdowns on the new bridge.

Crews created a new maintenance dock parallel to the new bridge in South Nyack. The dock will assist the Thruway Authority and emergency vessels near the new bridge.

Intelligent Transportation Systems will improve safety and mobility on the crossing by monitoring roadway conditions and notifying Thruway Authority staff of any disruptions. Motorists will also be informed of accidents and closed lanes through overhead electronic signage, enhancements that have been shown to minimize delays, allowing the public to get the most out of its investment.

The stream of data from the bridge’s sensors will be tracked at the Thruway Authority’s command center through an advanced Structural Health Monitoring System that will measure the twin-span crossing’s structural behavior under traffic and weather conditions. Routine and preventive maintenance work will also be efficiently scheduled with this state-of-the-art system. This vital communication network will make the bridge one of the most technologically advanced crossings in the United States when it opens in 2018.

Submitted by Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) for the December 2017 issue of Rivertown Magazine. Photos courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

Above, below where TZB sections were Removed

My drive had a purpose: view the super crane and the Tappan Zee Bridge minus several sections. I missed the mark yet didn’t have to use my E-ZPass® again (a second attempt) because of this photo.

Aerial view of the new bridge and old bridges/Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/State of New York

Partially obstructed by a tree at RiverWalk, the super crane is poised near the Westchester shoreline, where it’s been removing sections of the Tappan Zee.

Two months ago we drove on steel girders and deck panels atop piers (below).

Worker walking on a pier near the Westchester landing that will soon be dismantled/NYSTA

One of many photos I took last weekend, this depicts a snippet of past, present and future: Tappan Zee piers without girders and concrete deck panels, present new span and two future in-progress piers.

Although it’s exciting to report about the project, seeing this today en route to Westchester was disconcerting to say the least. Update: Project officials posted another view.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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