Archive for the ‘Thruway Authority’ Tag

Safety Features on the New Bridge Will Aid Fire and Emergency Services

What better way for fire and emergency services personnel to kick-start the New Year than with a meeting about safety features on the new bridge?

 Lane configurations on the new bridge were of interest to fire and emergency personnel/Photo Cr: NNYB Outreach

Lane configurations on the new bridge were of interest to fire and emergency personnel/Photo Cr: NNYB Outreach

About 80 members of the Rockland County Fire Chief’s Association learned how its lane configurations and water system would aid their all-volunteer services.

“It was a great program, and all of the members at the meeting took some good information away from it,” RCFCA President Harold Straut said of Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare’s presentation. “This is such a large project that will affect Rockland County, especially rescue personnel, and I felt it would be beneficial for fire services.”

Formed in 1952 so the fire chiefs and officers could meet on a regular basis to talk about fire service concerns in their county, the association’s membership grew from 37 charter members to more than 600. Its monthly meetings cover events, training issues, ideas, scheduling educational fire, rescue, and leadership-based seminars, and any other issues affecting Rockland’s emergency services.

Many fire personnel cross the bridge for work, “and it’s important for them to know about the project and the new bridge,” Straut noted.

Project officials sought input from fire departments, including several RCFCA members in Tarrytown and Central Nyack, law enforcement, EMS teams and municipal agencies to help identify safety and security issues. Teams bidding for the project nearly three years ago had to respond to very specific safety requirements in the state’s Request For Proposal.

“It was a pleasure meeting with the Rockland County Fire Chiefs Association to give an update on the remarkable progress being made on the New NY Bridge project and answer questions. From the planning to the design and now construction of the new bridge, the project team continues to meet proactively with local fire, police and other emergency personnel to get their input and ideas on how to enhance and ensure safety for the traveling public and for the first responders themselves.” — Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare

Of specific interest were the safety nets underneath the viewing areas, the lane configurations and the new bridge’s water system. Three graded turnarounds will operate much like crossings in preparation for light rail.

Safety features will aid fire and emergency personnel response time. Photo credit: NNYB Outreach

Safety features will aid fire and emergency personnel response time. Photo credit: NNYB Outreach

Nanuet Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Ready, who commutes to Elmsford, appreciated the presentation and hearing about the new safety additions.

“It was very informative, and a push in the right direction towards safety,” Ready said. “I didn’t know there would be two spans or how they’re building the first one, then shifting traffic, and taking down the bridge, then building the second span,” he said.

Ready explained fire departments use a standpipe, like those outside high rise buildings, and open a valve through which water flows from the tanker truck.

The new bridge will have a fire department connection with valves at each end that allow water to flow through pipes directly to hydrants. Staggered on the inside and outside lanes at 350-feet intervals and not more than 175 feet apart, hydrants will be fed from a dry system (not filled with water until needed) in winter and a water-pumped system during summer months.

These all-volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel protect and answer the call in all weather, and last Sunday’s freezing rain was an extreme example of what they can encounter, Straut said. They’ve a two-fold concern: getting to the firehouse, and once there, response time is compromised because of road conditions.

“That is one of the reasons we had the presentation on the new bridge,” he said. “It not only affects us now (rescues and accidents during construction) but we need to learn what it will be for us as they progress and when it is completed.”

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times January 22, 2015.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

For PMI NYC Members, Fascinating Insight into Delivering and Managing the NNYB Project

Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson talks about delivering the state’s mega project/NNYB Outreach

Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson talks about delivering the state’s mega project/NNYB Outreach

While New York City’s streets buzzed with pre-holiday excitement, another energy filled the room where a prominent speaker discussed a $3.9 billion project less than an hour away.

To say Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson’s presentation was riveting would be an understatement.

“Our members were so engaged,” PMI New York City (PMI NYC) Program Manager Holly Ripley said of the more than 200 attendees. “His presentation was rich with data and easy to follow.”

“It is always a pleasure to meet with local professional organizations like Project Management Institute. These gatherings allow us to connect with other construction managers who deal with similar issues on their projects, share ideas, and explain the dynamics of running a complex mega-project like the New NY Bridge.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson

The topic was also timely: Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) soon begins its third year on the clock, Governor Cuomo recently announced new appointments, and three top executives at the Thruway resigned within weeks.

“We try to bring in a speaker to talk on a mega project,” Ripley said of the annual meetings, which are larger than chapter meetings. “The previous year we had someone from Jones Lang LaSalle talking about the Empire State Building, and the year before that we had MTA Capital Construction talking about the Second Avenue Subway.”

Her takeaway was learning the bridge would be decommissioned when the new bridge opens, and realizing the incredible amount of work involved.

Members of PMI NYC with keynote speaker/NNYB Outreach

Members of PMI NYC with keynote speaker/NNYB Outreach

“We didn’t see much of the infrastructure early on, and now we’re seeing pillars in the water,” she said. “With a building it’s different because you can see the construction, and the progress is more apparent.”

Another discovery was the methodology: the bridge is scientifically planned and executed to provide support and modern structure. “That was a bit of news, too,” she said, “and learning about the political drivers was interesting for our members.”

Chapter members who attend meetings are professionals in their own industries, and hearing about project management for the bridge “was a whole new world for many of us,” Ripley said. “He (Sanderson) offered us a view of the complexity of a project that will be used by millions of people.”

“Many struggle with delivering a successful quality project safely, on or ahead of schedule and on budget — but it can be done. It will take a collaborative effort working with the design-build team from design refinement through detailed engineering until the final stages of construction.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson

More than six years after joining the chapter Ripley — Director, Project Management – Worldwide for Omnicom Media Group — will become PMI NYC’s president next January. In 2013, she attended the international convention in Turkey, and this year she’ll head to its Global Congress in London.

Peter Sanderson chats w/PMI NYC member/NNYB Outreach

Peter Sanderson chats w/PMI NYC member/NNYB Outreach

“Annual regional and international conferences help members within chapters to network and collaborate with one another to gain critical information,” she said. “It’s important to have a network of professionals within your field, especially when you’re seeking certifications.”

They include PMP (Project Management Professional)®, PgMP (Program Management Professional)® and CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management). Members who are working toward certification are encouraged to participate in the chapter’s study groups.

“The most well-known (credential) is Project Management Professional (which demonstrates that someone has the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects),” she said. “It means you understand how projects are delivered and managed locally and internationally.”

Nearly 3,000 strong, PMI NYC is part of Project Management Institute, the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PMI has more than 200,000 members in 150 countries worldwide.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Cuomo Announces Cabinet Appointments: New Top Aide and Thruway Authority Direction

Nearly three years ago Larry Schwartz frenzied Westchester and Rockland residents by announcing tolls on the new bridge could increase to $14.

Governor Cuomo at NNYB site this past October/© Janie Rosman 2014

Governor Cuomo at NNYB site this past October/© Janie Rosman 2014

Sunday Cuomo announced new appointments — among them, Schwartz’s replacement — following the recent resignation of three top Thruway Authority executives.

“New ideas and talent are critical to innovation and success. This team will build on the extraordinary progress made over the last four years by bringing experience, energy and fresh perspectives to the table,” Cuomo said. “This is an incredibly accomplished and dedicated group of individuals, and I am proud to welcome them to their new roles. Together we will continue moving New York State forward.”

Bill Mulrow will succeed Schwartz, who heads to the private sector. I covered several meetings where Schwartz described potential toll hikes with charts and diagrams. Enough said.

Bob Megna, Public Authorities Control Board’s (PACB) Budget Director since 2009, was appointed acting director of the Thruway Authority. His appointment must be confirmed by the State Senate.

Cuomo announced additional appointments Monday.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

New Year, New Authority, and New Challenges

As headlines reported worldwide celebrations welcoming 2015, another change quietly took place: Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison and Chief Financial Officer Bryan resigned, effective midnight, one month after Chair Howard Milstein.

Madison left state service to pursue private sector opportunities, part of the natural transition of government as gubernatorial term changes. Given the recent departure of Milstein, it is natural that other leadership changes would occur.

My 88-year old mom was upset when I told her.

Walter Riechert, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, Thomas J. Madison, Jr., Executive Director, NYS Thruway Authority, Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor./Photo: NYSTA

Walter Riechert, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, Thomas J. Madison, Jr., Executive Director, NYS Thruway Authority, Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor./Photo: NYSTA

Governor Andrew Cuomo, sworn in for his second term this afternoon, recommended Madison to the Boards of the Thruway Authority and the Canal Corporation on September 15, 2011, an appointment confirmed by the State Senate on January 9, 2012.

“It has been an honor to serve in Governor Cuomo’s administration as executive director of the Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation during such a pivotal time in the history of the organization,” Madison said in a statement. “It was a particular privilege to be a part of the leadership team of the New NY Bridge project to replace the Tappan Zee, and to serve alongside so many talented and committed public servants.”

His experience — including Vice President and Director of Transportation Policy for STV, Incorporated of New York City, and Federal Highway Administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation — made him perfect for the job.

Faced with challenges, Madison had calculating vision and is to be commended for his major accomplishments during his three-plus years with the Thruway, and for open communication with colleagues and the media (me). Under difficult circumstances, he kept the Tappan Zee Bridge in a good state of repair for four years and saw New NY Bridge project through to where it is today.

I’ve covered the bridge project for nearly three years and observed him co-chair the mass transit task force meetings with finesse and a calm demeanor.

“It’s best to talk about financing options, rather than talk about transit objectives and back into a discussion about finance,” Madison said at the April 2013 meeting.

Each time mom heard I was going to one of those meetings, she’d ask me to say hello to him for her.

Madison made every effort to bring the 570-mile Thruway system into the 21st century, emphasizing it’s important to begin paying for projects. He spoke about its role in the state economy, favoring a once-proposed 45 percent toll increase that would have added $90 million in annual revenues. It was necessary, he said, after years of mismanagement at the agency and the need for additional revenue.

While the 45% toll hike for trucks won’t happen on the 570-mile Thruway, I felt, then as now, commercial vehicles deserve to pay more – at least on the new bridge.

Thruway officials had an alternative plan to reduce costs: removing the Canal Corporation — on the Thruway’s books since the early 1990s — from its control was an idea voiced by many during the years.

As Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) begins its third year, details for funding the $3.9 billion bridge project, and how the Thruway will close the $25 million revenue gap on its recently-adopted $1.7 billion budget, are unclear.

Deputy Secretary for Transportation Karen Rae, who has extensive operations background, will manage the transition at the Thruway Authority for the governor. Rae will work closely with the Thruway board to ensure a smooth transition. Until a new executive director is confirmed, Jennifer McCormick will be responsible for all critical day-to-day operations.

Mom says hello and wishes you best of luck, Mr. Madison.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Recapping 2014: Condensed Year in Review

This year continued the celebration from December 2013, when Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison closed the deal on a generous TIFIA loan, and the Left Coast Lifter waved — if it can limbo under our bridge, then it can wave — goodbye to California, ready for its 6,000-mile trip to New York Harbor.

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Rumor has it the state renamed the crane I Lift NY due to this blog post.

While super crane was shimmying through the Panama Canal, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) began its second year on the clock, our toes froze, and the Mass Transit Task force was one meeting away from our travel futures. A monorail would have been fun.

Yikes! It was cold. Frozen river? No problem, tweeted project officials (pic.twitter.com/M6vFOHYdBQ), and before January ended, the super crane arrived.

by justin sullivan

February opened with name-calling: the crane had a new moniker, and folks debated about a legendary folk singer. New safety warnings were issued, the state police and Thruway Authority relocated, and then came the final Mass Transit Task Force meeting. C’mon, you knew it’d be bus rapid transit.

The morning before it, my dear, sweet father passed away in his sleep. I love you and miss you very much, dad. You may have been there, too, because more cake than I ate was missing from my plate. Dad loved cake. Thank you to friends who were there for mom and me that night, throughout the weekend to his funeral, and this past year.

new RNA safety zone

March told us Ramp E in Tarrytown would close for the second time. Mid-month brought annual meetings in both counties and new boater safety regulations. Days later, when another barge escaped, the bridge builder addressed the issue and paid stiff fines.

In April we got money for those transit plans. The Tarrytown Outreach Center relocated, and President Barack Obama and Governor Andrew Cuomo came to town in May. Some construction vessels were now tracked via GPS, and the Outreach Team visited marinas as boating season opened.

Steel piles are ready to be capped/© Janie Rosman 2014

Steel piles are ready to be capped/© Janie Rosman 2014

June announced the 2014 Bridge Art Show. It’s bye-bye to the Rockland landing, and the start of main span pile cap construction. Need funding? How about a $500M loan from CWSRF? The project team sent emergency supplies to Delaware, and EFC approved the money.

A quiet July 4th weekend was followed by stricter safety measures. The Thruway Authority got half of the $511 million, and concrete technology arrived on the Hudson. Piermont boaters now have a safe passage to the main channel, pile cap installation began, and then came a detour.

Opening night: admiring Westchester and Rockland artists’ depictions of the current and future bridge/NNYB Outreach

Opening night: admiring Westchester and Rockland artists’ depictions of the current and future bridge/NNYB Outreach

Another project first: the 2014 Bridge Art Show opened at Nyack First Friday and debuted in Tarrytown the next week, thanks to collaborating groups. Rebar alert per NNYB, and you know the loan that came through? No, no, the EPA said. Educational outreach began its second year, there were lane shifts for construction, and the viewing areas started to take shape.

October brought Cuomo’s Build NY Initiative, and the governor was in Piermont to welcome the crane. Team Outreach celebrated Halloween bridge-style, and a new electronic highway sign was tested.

Two of the new bridge's 86 vertical steel towers seen near the Westchester approach span/NNYB Outreach

Two of the new bridge’s 86 vertical steel towers seen near the Westchester approach span/NNYB Outreach

Several lane closures in November, when the state told the EPA, See you in court. The first two pier towers were completed, and more criticism about the bridge finances from an oversight office. TZC’s president received the “Good Scout” award, and South Nyack asked the governor for help.

Detours, lane closures, and more lane closures kicked off December, and the bridge had a birthday! A mid-month accident — thankfully, no one was hurt — temporarily halted cement production and not the project, which soon begins its third year.

Did I miss something? I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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