Then in February, 2017, the old bridge gives up its eastbound traffic to that new north span. During that same month, workers will begin tearing down the old bridge. Finally, in November of that year, eastbound traffic into Westchester will transfer from its temporary placement on the new north span to the new south span.
All that traffic juggling is spelled out in the project timeline posted by the New York State Thruway Authority. The timeline, of course, assumes that the construction of the new bridge meets the projected schedule. The physical structure will have been completed in April 2018, and the Thruway Authority and other state agencies will give their “final acceptance of the project,” during July of that year, as spelled out in the timeline.
While easily described on paper, the work by the consortium, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, will have gone through a series of complex steps beginning with various tests of the foundation, early dredging, pile driving, superstructure erection, cable stay installation, and many more building stages before completion of what will be, with twin-spans measuring 223 feet wide, the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The bridge deck of a cable-stayed bridge is supported by cables running from its towers. The new bridge is being built to withstand the rigors of time; it will not need major, structural repairs for 100 years, according to the Thruway Authority.
Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed optimism about the bridge being built on time during a visit to the site last month. “I took a tour of the construction to inspect firsthand the tremendous progress that has been made, and I am pleased to report that I am confident that the New NY Bridge project, arguably the most ambitious infrastructure project the State has undertaken in decades, will deliver a new bridge on budget and on schedule for the taxpayers and the Lower Hudson Valley community.” he stated.
Governor Cuomo will be briefed monthly on construction progress, a process involving the new bridge’s Project Manager, Peter Sanderson, and seen as an assurance that, “construction stays on track.” The Thruway Authority, in cooperation with the construction consortium, is making a variety of efforts to keep the public aware of the project’s progress, including having strategically placed cameras at the bridge site, whose views are available on its website.
The enormity of the project was emphasized by Thruway Authority Chairman Howard P. Milstein who declared the bridge “...is the largest transportation project in North America and one of the largest construction contracts in New York State history. We are becoming a national model for how a project like this can be planned and managed effectively using private sector knowledge and public sector transparency,” Milstein added.
Federal approval of a $1.6 billion low interest loan for the project through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program gave the project a large boost in meeting its $3.9 billion price tag. Yet unresolved is what might occur with tolls for use of the new bridge. What has happened, according to the state, is that close to 600 jobs have been produced by the new bridge construction and 500 businesses have so far benefited from the project.