Archive for the ‘Tappan Zee Constructors’ Tag

Sight Unseen: Activity Beyond the Car Windows

No fear of heights for whoever took the first two photos in this blog post or the above view of structural steel connecting the unfinished eastbound span to the Westchester landing. Photos courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

After structural steel comes concrete deck panels. More than 6,000 precast ones, including those you and I drive on, have been placed so far.

You won’t see this from the road: the top view of a concrete barrier form that’s filled with steel rebar, which reinforces everything concrete on the new bridge.

Lots of progress on the Thruway Authority maintenance building, in final design. Maybe you missed this while driving by as we know your eyes were on the road.

The new barracks for state police is also shaping up on the Thruway’s south side.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

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

Crews remove Center of Tappan Zee Main Span

Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Seven months after the final set of tires crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge, crews began removing the first of five sections from the cantilever truss structure’s 2,415-foot main span.

The process of dismantling and placing its 532-foot-long center span onto a barge began Monday evening. While boaters were advised the main span channel would be closed for 48 hours to accommodate the operation, the precise time for completion had not been determined at press time.

Eight hydraulic strand jacks lowered the 4,750-ton suspended center span onto a barge to be transported offsite for further disassembly. Two moveable barrier machines, no longer needed, and 133 deck panels removed at an earlier time will be sent to nearly 12 state and local municipalities.

Last November, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) and the I Lift NY super crane began the year-long process of dismantling the old bridge by removing sections of steel.

“This new bridge is a vital economic link for Rockland and the entire Hudson Valley,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day commented. “I look forward to the full opening of this modern crossing that has been long awaited by our residents.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer called the new bridge “a symbol of innovation and technology. The Tappan Zee Bridge served our County well, but transportation needs have changed since it was constructed, and it is time for it to be taken down.

Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Both counties will benefit from the Lower Hudson Transit Link system that begins November 2018 and replaces Rockland County’s Tappan Zee Express buses.

During the coming months, crews will remove two main span sections via barge-based cranes. Strand jacks will assist with lowering the two anchor spans, after which the super crane will help remove the main span’s steel support structures, completing main span removal by late fall 2018.

“New York is leading the nation in rebuilding and reimagining our infrastructure so we can meet the demands of the fast-paced, 21st century economy,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

This milestone in the project’s development follows the opening of the new TZ’s westbound span August 26, 2017. Eastbound traffic shifted to that span six weeks later. The final set of commuter rubber met the Tappan Zee Bridge’s road deck at 10 p.m. October 6, 2017, when Nyack resident Seth Kestenbaum drove his restored 1929 Ford Model A across the span prior to its retirement.

Four lanes each of opposite-direction traffic on the westbound span will continue until the eastbound span opens later this year, when each span will each have eight general traffic lane — four breakdown and emergency lanes and dedicated bus lanes — in addition to space for commuter rail when funds become available and a bicycle and walking path.

“Infrastructure investments such as this are invaluable components of a vibrant state economy, and none are more important to our region than this new, more resilient and stronger crossing,” Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell noted.

Main span of Tappan Zee Bridge minus center section/EarthCam® construction camera

“The construction of this new bridge will provide safe and more efficient travel for residents and visitors for generations, and I thank the Governor for recognizing the need to take action to replace the Tappan Zee,” South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian commented.

Design-build construction championed by the governor incentivizes the private sector to be creative on methods that speed up construction time and reduce costs and is used across New York’s large infrastructure projects, including the new Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City.

“The new bridge marks another step toward transforming New York’s infrastructure, reducing congestion for motorists and generating immense economic benefits for local communities, “ Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll commented.

“(It’s) a great example of the state’s commitment to future generations of New Yorkers,” New NY Bridge Project Director Jamey Barbas agreed.

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times May 10, 2018.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

Soon to be Gone: TZB Main Span Removal Ahead

You can see the future in these photos; the two below are courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority. It’s getting close to that time, folks, when the Tappan Zee Bridge will cease to be yet will remain forever a part of the area’s history.

There is it, that cut in the main span truss. Good to know parts of the bridge will be repurposed to state and local municipalities; a little eerie to realize this day, so far into the future nearly six years ago — during my first bridge meeting at the Quay Condominium in Tarrytown — would finally arrive.

Seven months ago, the last car drove its 3.1 miles. The ginormous crane returns to help crews remove sections from the bridge’s main span. Moving forward, they continue to installing precast concrete deck panels near the Westchester landing and pouring concrete there.

Yesterday was eight miles. It’s more than three miles one way and the same walk back or there’s the Lower Hudson Transit Link.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

Progress on Thruway & State Police Facilities

The new maintenance facility is progressing rapidly per this photo courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority. Crews were also pouring concrete for the new state police facility on the south side of the Thruway (webcam photo below).

You and I see lanes of traffic divided by a concrete strip in the photo below. They — the design-build team and others working on this project — see a future walking and bicycle path (right lane) and a breakdown lane (second from right).

Hadn’t planned to walk two miles yesterday. One more mile plus one-tenth, and I’d have crossed the new bridge on foot; add a bit more for the path’s start and end. Planning to walk another mile or two a few times per week.

These outings will put my brand new hip joint to the test and are prep for my eventual goal: to walk across the path. Aced the Lower Hudson Valley Engineering Expo weekend before last.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2018

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