Archive for the ‘Educational Outreach’ Tag

ArtsWestchester Gala celebrates Bridge Project

At sunset, enhanced by aesthetic lighting/Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/State of New York

Last Saturday, ArtsWestchester‘s gala 2017 fundraiser celebrated the new bridge as a work of art, honoring project director Jamey Barbas, P.E., and Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC).

Honorees and appreciation award recipients: public outreach coordinator Andrew P. O’Rourke, Jr., project director Jamey Barbas, P.E., TZC president Terry Towle and Business Council of Westchester president and CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon/Photo: Leslye Smith

Appreciation awards were given to Business Council of Westchester president and CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon and public outreach coordinator Andrew P. O’Rourke, Jr.

Arts in the region “brings us closer to our neighbors on the other side of the bridge,” ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam said three summers earlier.

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam at gala honoring bridge project/Photo: Leslye Smith

The nonprofit was one of four groups collaborating on the 2014 Bridge Art Show that linked the project to creative populations in Nyack and Tarrytown. “It’s symbolic of connections and metaphorically working together.”

Congratulations to those who were recognized as we follow this exciting project.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Free Coffee and Tea tonight to Thruway Drivers; Last New Year’s Eve on Current Tappan Zee


‘Tis the last New Year’s Eve for driving across the Tappan Zee Bridge, whose replacement waits to take a new place in Hudson Valley and New York State history.

“This bridge says that when you reject the naysayers, when you reject the doubt, when you reject the insecurity, when you find the confidence and the commonality, and you take all that negative energy and you turn it into positive energy, there is nothing you can’t do,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this month. “You find that confidence and you find that spot of cooperation and you turn that energy positive, and the sky is the limit.”

If you’re on the Thruway and need to take five or stretch your legs, then stop at any of its 27 travel plazas for free hot coffee and tea from 11 p.m. tonight until 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Wishing you happy and healthy New Year! May the best of last year be the worst of next, and remember, please don’t drink and drive.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

TZB Year Four: Progress and Milestones


Construction on the new 3.1-mile, $3.98 billion project progressed at a brisk pace since June and reached a halfway point in early August.

The new towers — several now with stay cables that are also attached to roadway — and blue girder assemblies paralleling the current span are most apparent. There’s more.

Main span towers and cables

This summer Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) began installing the first of 192 stay cables (July) on the as-yet-unfinished westbound towers to the main span road deck. Each cable contains bundles of metal strands covered in protective sheaths; placed end-to-end the total is 14 miles of sheathing encasing 700 miles of strands.

By September the westbound towers reached their eventual 419-foot heights, and crews removed the self-climbing forms to reveal chamfered (angled) tops.

Twelve pairs of cables are anchored to each side of the towers and tensioned to outside sections of structural steel. The cable bundles increase in size as they move away from the towers to support the 74-million-pound main span roadway.

All four westbound towers are finished; the eastbound towers will be finished by this month. At press time (mid-November) more than 40 of the 192 cables were installed on the westbound span; when finished, crews will focus on the eastbound span’s cables.


Constructing the roadway

Also in July the first 40-foot-long steel sections and prefabricated road deck panels were installed across the main span crossbeams and working outward in each direction.

When the steel and deck panels extended far enough from the crossbeams — as when the towers reached a certain height — workers began attaching and tensioning the cables that will support the main span roadway, and then the roadway will built across the main span channel.

Final structural steel was installed as much as can be on the eastbound span in mid-September and completed on westbound span in early October. Crews are now installing road deck panels.

By next spring/summer traffic will shift to the westbound span so the super crane can start dismantling the current bridge, and work will resume on the eastbound span.

The first LED roadway lighting stanchions (columns) were attached to the westbound span, and workers installed three “turnarounds” — two on the Rockland approach span and one on the Westchester approach span — so emergency responders can quickly get to the either span in case of an accident.

Water lines were installed underneath the bridge’s roadway and will connect to hydrants staggered on the inside and outside lanes. These hydrants will be fed from a dry system (not filled with water until needed) in winter and a water-pumped system during summer months.


Educational outreach

The five-year program corresponds to each year of construction and explains the project clearly using understandable terms. Presentations include visuals, examples and props — a piece of galvanized steel rebar (piers, towers), a section of metal strand (stay cables), a square of clear plastic (border wall of walking path).

Educators like Cottage Lane Elementary School teacher Jacob Tanenbaum say they “match exactly what our (technology and science) students are studying in their various classrooms,” which is bridge design.

Engineering, information technology and green building (sustainable design) students at Hudson Valley P-TECH (The New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School program) in Piermont were interested in traffic patterns when the current bridge is dismantled and how the new bridge will carry the same 140,000-per-day vehicle load. Others wanted to when the spans would open, project costs and projected tolls.

“We have a group of engineering students who are Engineering 105 right now,” P-TECH Principal Natasha Shea. “It’s part of their curriculum with RCC, and they have to design and build a bridge, so this fits into what they’re learning.”

Marjan Perry’s third-grade class at Liberty Elementary School reads the fictional Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting about two boys whose fathers are helping build the Golden Gate Bridge. “They learn all jobs are important, and that projects require teamwork,” she said.

The new bridge is featured in Nyack Public Schools’ new logo created by several high school art students and on the district’s home page. Its inscription reads, “Building bridges for today’s students to cross into tomorrow’s world with equality, innovation and optimism.”

metal-strand-and-cross-sectionInspiring by example

“When I was your age I didn’t know what an engineer did, I didn’t know any engineers,” or in high school or on college, Project Director Jamey Barbas told a group of sixth and seventh-grade girls recently.

Several in Barbas’ workshop about bridge structures — part of a WizGirls conference hosted by AAUW Westchester that encourages young girls to explore technology and computer science — nodded. After learning about tension and compression, they applied their new knowledge by assembling mini LEGO® bridges.

“Events like (these) are unique opportunities to bring awareness to young women of careers in engineering,’ she reflected later. Equally meaningful was her message that you can always change direction.

Barbas was a premed student and took a biomedical engineering class in college, thinking it would assist her in medicine. Intrigued, she switched her studies and career goals.

Legislative mandates/commitments

To comply with the DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) program, mandated by the US Department of Transportation for federally-funded projects, TZC committed to a 10 percent goal ($314 million).

The project costs $3.98 billion ($3.14 billion plus administrative and contract costs)

Through September 2016 TZC recorded $247.9 million in contract-value commitments to DBE firms. Of the 245 trade contractors and professional firms hired for the project, 112 are DBE firms.

One contractor, New York Geomatics, provides surveying and layout.

“We do the office engineering via state-of-the-art computer programs, figuring where to drill, where to pour the concrete and where to place the steel,” Senior Project Surveyor Nobile Basile explained. On the bridge project it places up to four two-man survey crews on the water, and two two-person crews on land, daily.

In some cases, the company devised innovative ways to use equipment for some tasks.

Basile observed during the past three years, “Some surveyors lay out a high rise building, some work on roads or boundary; this project involves every type of surveying and layout, including some in-house, out-of-the-box solutions, It’s been a challenge but we’ve been able to meet expectations.”


Looking ahead

Workers began prepping the former toll plaza site in Tarrytown for foundation work on the new 26,000-square-foot Thruway Authority maintenance facility. Traffic shifts in October and November paved the way for crews to start building the new state police barracks south of the Thruway.

“Our consulting firm, VHB, is writing its final analysis for how we can develop Interchange 10 and make it profitable for our residents,” South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian, said excited about the positive plans for the village. TZC is using those 14 acres as a staging area.

Last month the Thruway Authority and the village jointly presented South Nyack’s preferred concept, “Alternative F,” for the shared use path and terminus to the community. “We’re pleased both the Thruway Authority and the state were sensitive to our needs,” she said.

For information about the project or its educational outreach program, visit

Photos courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority and HJ.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Few New Project Additions & a Detailed Update


The project reached milestones recently with the completion of road deck panels for the westbound span approaches, and the first of eight gantries on the westbound span was installed. They’ll have electronic signage about lane use, exits and other helpful information.

Ten gantries will be installed on the eastbound span, 18 in all.


Safety Sam’s looking cool next to Santa — that was an unintended pun — while Outreach Specialist Al Florio helps decorate the Tarrytown center.


Here’s the other side of the westbound span — what we can’t see from the road, which is out of this picture — and is described here. Mystery is solved!

This month’s Rivertown Magazine includes a project update (it’s also here).

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Throwback Thursday: at the Outreach Centers

What would you like to know?/New NY Bridge Outreach

What would you like to know?/New NY Bridge Outreach

Everyone has questions about the new bridge that is scheduled to open in 2018.

“When will the new bridge be finished?” “How many lanes will it have?” “What will happen to the old bridge?” are most often-asked questions at Thruway Authority’s Community Outreach Centers, which opened February 2013 in Westchester and Rockland to engage the public and promote the project.

While the Westchester site got off to a slow start in its 303 S. Broadway (Tarrytown) office park setting, project officials noted a whopping 62 percent increase in foot traffic after it relocated to 2 N. Broadway.

They reported 458 visitors at the new location between May 1 (opening date) and July 16 — nearly two-thirds of Westchester’s 738 recorded total visits; the Rockland site at 142 Main St. in Nyack drew 1,840 people since day one.

Maddy Heller at Nyack Center/© Janie Rosman 2014

Maddy Heller at Nyack Center/© Janie Rosman 2014

“The move to the new location in downtown Tarrytown has helped more people become actively engaged in learning about this historic project,” special project advisor Brian Conybeare affirmed. “We welcome the increased interest in the Westchester Outreach Center and encourage everyone to stop by to and ask questions.”

Mention the bridge, and a knee-jerk reaction is a comment about tolls. “I heard they’re going to $15,” Stuart Bailey commented. “I work in Rockland, and I can’t see paying that much every day.”

Both Centers are open seven days a week, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., to accommodate various schedules. Each has current newsletters and information, including the new safety zone and an expanded Regulated Navigation Area (RNA), a large-screen computer for viewing the project website, and models of the new bridge and the I Lift NY super crane.

Its five interns, on rotating shifts, and five full-time employees aim to educate and inform. During the past months, outreach staff has been dispensing information about boater safety to marinas and boat clubs in Westchester and Rockland.

Have questions? Bring them here/New NY Bridge Outreach

Have questions? Bring them here/New NY Bridge Outreach

Tarrytown resident Pamela Bennett Louis plans to stop by in the near future. “I haven’t followed the project other than knowing first-hand about bridge traffic,” she said. Louis would like to learn more “about a project that so directly affects our town. Perhaps some basic knowledge about the bridge construction will help us to intelligently follow its progress.”

While the staff is well-versed in project details, sometimes an answer isn’t readily available — yet no question goes without reply. Whoever is at the center that day will take the visitor’s name and number, consult with project officials, and call the person requesting the information within 24 hours.

Answers to questions most often asked are: the new twin-span bridge will be completed by 2018, with eight traffic lanes (four in each direction); the current bridge will be taken apart in segments, as it was built. The 6’ and 4’ pilings that catch your eye are the same ones used for the new bridge’s foundation.

One of several places to pose/New NY Bridge Outreach

One of several places to pose/New NY Bridge Outreach

Places for photo ops are in front of the colorful K’NEX model or the LEGO® bridge at the 2 North Broadway office or at the I Lift NY super crane. Community Outreach is about making connections with schools, civic organizations, business groups, museums, colleges and universities, and project officials said a sizeable number of requests for presentations led to such associations.

If you’d like the Outreach Team to talk with your group or school, click “Contact Us” on the website.

My article originally appeared in The Hudson Independent September 2014.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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