Tappan Zee Bridge replacement

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Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement
New NY Bridge.png
Concept art showcasing the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement with dynamic lighting
Coordinates 41°04′17″N 73°53′28″W / 41.07139°N 73.89111°W / 41.07139; -73.89111Coordinates: 41°04′17″N 73°53′28″W / 41.07139°N 73.89111°W / 41.07139; -73.89111
Carries 8 lanes (4 northbound, 4 southbound) of I-87 / I-287 / New York Thruway
Crosses Hudson River
Locale Connecting South Nyack (Rockland County) and Tarrytown (Westchester County)
Design dual-span cable-stayed twin bridge
Construction begin 2013
Construction cost $3.9 billion (2013 project budget) [1]
Opened Late 2016 (westbound span)
Late 2017 (eastbound span)
April 2018 (project completion)[1]
Daily traffic 138,000+ (2011 est)

State and federal agencies are planning to replace the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge over New York's Hudson River. Construction began in 2013, with opening targeted for 2017.


The original Tappan Zee bridge is a cantilever bridge built during 1952–1955. The bridge is 3 miles (4.8 km) long and spans the Hudson at its second-widest point. The Tappan Zee river crossing was named by 17th century Dutch settlers. The "Tappan" are believed to be a Native American tribe formerly living in the area; zee is the Dutch word for "sea".[2] The Tappan Zee is the larger of the two bridges serving a 33-mile (53 km) stretch of river that passes through New York City's populous northern suburbs, the Bear Mountain Bridge being the smaller.

The original Tappan Zee was built in a period of material shortages during the Korean War.

The deteriorating current structure bears an average of 138,000 vehicles per day, substantially more traffic than its designed capacity. During its first decade, the bridge carried fewer than 40,000 vehicles per day. Part of the justification for replacing the bridge stems from its construction immediately following the Korean War on a low budget of only $81 million. Unlike other major bridges in metropolitan New York, the Tappan Zee was designed to last only 50 years.[3] The new bridge is intended to last at least 100 years.[4]

The collapse of Minnesota's I-35W Mississippi River bridge in 2007 raised worries about the Tappan Zee's structural integrity.[5] These concerns, together with traffic overcapacity and increased maintenance costs, escalated the serious discussions already ongoing about replacing the Tappan Zee with a tunnel or a new bridge.[6][7] Six options were identified and submitted for project study and environmental review.[8]

Replacement bridge[edit]

The Federal Highway Administration issued a report in October 2011 designating the Tappan Zee's replacement to be a dual-span twin bridge. The new bridge will be built on the north side of the old Tappan Zee, connecting to the existing highway approaches on both river banks.[9] Construction began as scheduled during 2013, with completion targeted for 2017.[10] Project costs are estimated at $5 to 6 billion. Bridge tolls could more than double, to between $12 and $15 (round trip), rising to that of New York City's Hudson River crossings.[4]

As proposed,[9] the new bridge will include

  • Four vehicle lanes on each span, eight lanes total.
  • A shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path.

Like its predecessor, the new Tappan Zee bridge will be administered by the New York State Thruway Authority. The authority is project co-sponsor, along with the state Department of Transportation.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council added the Tappan Zee Bridge to its list of projects eligible for federal funds in August 2012.[11]

The United States Department of Transportation approved the plan on September 25, 2012. The approval process took fewer than 10 months as opposed to the traditional multi-year process as a result of being placed on a "fast track" for approval by the Obama Administration.[12]

On December 17, 2012, New York state officials dropped their proposal for a 45 percent increase on the state Thruway toll for trucks, while advancing a $3.14 billion project to replace the bridge.[13]

Proposals are being considered (with the support of Governor Cuomo), including a petition to the New York State Senate, to name the new bridge after Pete Seeger. Mr. Seeger used music to push for an environment friendly Hudson River. Long before others understood the need or feasibility, Seeger campaigned for cleaning the river in the 1960s. As of the end of 2013, General Electric [14] had completed four seasons of dredging to remove contaminants from the river bottom. That means that approximately 70 percent of the sediments targeted for dredging overall has been removed (more than 1.9 million cubic yards of sediment).

The project timeline indicates demolition of the old bridge will begin in February 2017.[15]

No new public transportation[edit]

West of Tappan Zee, the 680,000 residents of Rockland and Orange counties currently have very limited mass transit to New York City via the Port Jervis Line and Pascack Valley Line commuter rail services. However, the bridge plan includes as an objective merely, "Providing a crossing that does not preclude future trans-Hudson transit services."[9]

A proposed bus rapid transit system using the new bridge was shelved as too expensive. The existing New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Hudson commuter rail line Tarrytown station is located about 2,000 feet (610 m) from the new bridge's eastern landing. In 2011, the state estimated that a bus connector to the station would add about $151 million, or about 3 percent to projected costs of the new bridge.[16]

Responding to widespread concerns about the lack of new public transit service, bridge planners agreed only to a "dedicated express bus lane" in each direction for use during rush hour.[17]


The bridge is being built by Tappan Zee Constructors, a design-build LLC composed of Fluor Corporation, American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast and Traylor Bros. The Left Coast Lifter will be used to install groups of pre-assembled girders one full span at a time.[18] When completed in 2018, the new Tappan Zee Bridge will be the widest bridge on the planet and one of the longest cable-stayed spans in the nation.[19]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About the Project". The New NY Bridge. New York State Thruway Authority. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Melvin, Tessa (August 21, 1994). "If You're Thinking of Living In/Tarrytown; Rich History, Picturesque River Setting". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  3. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (January 17, 2006). "A Bridge That Has Nowhere Left to Go". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  4. ^ a b "NY proposes steep toll increases for new Tappan Zee bridge". Reuters. 4 August 2012. Some alternatives to the Tappan Zee bridge are already more expensive. The George Washington Bridge, which crosses the Hudson River south of the Tappan Zee, has a cash toll of US$12, which is expected to rise to $15 in 2015. 
  5. ^ "Tappan Zee Bridge has received 'poor' ratings". Poughkeepsie Journal. Gannett News Service. August 3, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  6. ^ Thruway Authority; MTA Metro-North Railroad (June 2003). "Long List of Level 1 Alternatives". Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement. New York State. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Zhao, Yilu (24 July 2003). "From 156 Options, Down to 15 Ways to Go on Tappan Zee". New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Dept of Transportation; Thruway Authority; MTA Metro-North Railroad (January 2006). "Alternatives Analysis Report, Level 2". Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement. New York State. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c US Federal Highway Administration (13 October 2011). "Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project Scoping Information Packet" (PDF). Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Haughney, Christine (11 October 2011). "U.S. Says It Will Expedite Approval to Replace Deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge". New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2011. The state will pay for the project by issuing $3 billion in bonds against its toll revenues; the remaining $2.2 billion will be financed with loans from labor pension funds and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. 
  11. ^ Plotch, Philip Mark. Politics Across the Hudson: The Tappan Zee Megaproject. Rutgers University Press, New Jersey (2015). p. 165-168
  12. ^ [1] Bloomberg Businessweek, September 25, 2012
  13. ^ "New York State Advances $3.1 Billion Plan To Replace Tappan Zee Bridge". CBS News New York. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.hudsondredging.com/
  15. ^ "About the project". New York State Thruway Authority. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Kazis, Noah (12 July 2012). "Even a Paltry $150M For Tappan Zee Transit Is Too Much For Andrew Cuomo". Streetsblog NYC. OpenPlans. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 'This is a red herring that it’s going to cost $5 billion to do BRT and therefore we’re not going to do anything,' said Jeff Zupan, a senior fellow with the Regional Plan Association. 
  17. ^ Nicosia, Mareesa (15 August 2012). "New Tappan Zee Bridge: Nyack residents voice traffic, noise, toll concerns". The Journal News (Westchester & Rockland Counties, New York). Retrieved 11 September 2012. [E]ight general-purpose lanes would be flanked on each side by wide shoulders, which would allow emergency vehicles to pass traffic. One shoulder on each side of the bridge would serve as a dedicated express bus lane. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing". October 2014. 
  19. ^ "New Tappan Zee will be world's widest bridge".