New Tappan Zee Bridge

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New Tappan Zee Bridge
New NY Bridge.png
Concept art showcasing the new Tappan Zee Bridge 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
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]
Opening Mid 2017 (westbound span)
Late 2017 (eastbound span)
April 2018 (project completion)[1]
Daily traffic 138,000+ (2011 est)

The new Tappan Zee Bridge is a new bridge being built in order to replace the current Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge over New York's Hudson River. Construction began in 2013, with opening targeted for 2018.


The original Tappan Zee Bridge, built in a period of material shortages during the Korean War

The original Tappan Zee Bridge is a cantilever bridge built during 1952–55. The Chief Superintendent of the project was Anthony B Cahill.[citation needed] 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 nation that formerly lived in the area; zee is the Dutch word for "sea".[2] The Tappan Zee Bridge, along with the smaller Bear Mountain Bridge, are the only crossings of the Tappan Zee, a 33-mile (53 km) stretch of river that passes through New York City's populous northern suburbs.

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 Bridge 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 Bridge'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]

Construction progress[edit]

Under construction, day view (left, August 2016) and night view (right, September 2016)

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 is now under construction a few yards to the north of the existing bridge, and will connect to the existing highway approaches of the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) on both river banks.[9] Construction began as scheduled during 2013, with completion targeted for 2017.[10] The project now has an estimated completion date of April 2018 at a cost of $3.98 billion dollars.[11]

Originally, it was thought that bridge tolls could more than double (to $12-$15 for automobiles, eastbound only), rising to those of New York City's Hudson River crossings.[4] However, the state passed legislation freezing the toll on the bridge at $5 through 2020 in its 2016 legislative session.[12]

Aerial view of the New Tappan Zee Bridge currently being constructed next to the existing Tappan Zee Bridge (August 2016)

The new Tappan Zee Bridge was proposed to include four vehicle lanes on each span, for a total of eight lanes, as well as 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.[9]

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council added the Tappan Zee Bridge to its list of projects eligible for federal funds in August 2012.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

The new Tappan Zee 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.[16] By the end of 2013, General Electric had completed four seasons of dredging to remove contaminants from the river bottom. Approximately 70 percent of the sediments targeted for dredging were removed (totaling more than 1,900,000 cubic yards (1,500,000 m3)of sediment).[17]

The project timeline originally indicated that the old bridge would be closed in 2016 and that the demolition of the old bridge would begin in February 2017.[18] That timeline has since been amended. The old bridge will be in service through "spring or summer" of 2017, when traffic will shift over to one of the spans of the new structure. The bridge's completion date of April 2018 remains unchanged.[19]

When completed, the new Tappan Zee Bridge will be the widest bridge on the planet and one of the longest cable-stayed spans in the nation.[20]

On July 19, 2016, a crane used for construction of the bridge collapsed onto the existing older bridge. Five people were injured, including three drivers and two bridge workers; no one was killed or critically injured.[21][22]

Public transportation[edit]

West of the 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. 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.[23]

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.[24]

See also[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. ^ "About". The New NY Bridge Project. 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Tappan Zee tolls frozen until 2020". News 12 Westchester. News 12 Networks. April 7, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Plotch, Philip Mark. Politics Across the Hudson: The Tappan Zee Megaproject. Rutgers University Press, New Jersey (2015). p. 165-168
  14. ^ [1] Bloomberg Businessweek, September 25, 2012
  15. ^ "New York State Advances $3.1 Billion Plan To Replace Tappan Zee Bridge". CBS News New York. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing". October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Hudson River PCB Dredging Project". Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  18. ^ "About the project". New York State Thruway Authority. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "Delayed: First TZB span won't open until 2017". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  20. ^ "New Tappan Zee will be world's widest bridge". 
  21. ^ "Crane collapse on Tappan Zee Bridge injures at least 5; all lanes closed in both directions". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  22. ^ "Four Hurt When Crane collapses onto Tappan Zee Bridge". NY Post. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Nicosia, Mareesa (15 August 2012). "New Tappan Zee Bridge: Nyack residents voice traffic, noise, toll concerns". The Journal News. Westchester & Rockland Counties, New York. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. 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. 

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