The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 10 January 2014 13:10cat

Frigid Temperatures Delay Tappan Zee Bridge Foundation

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The New New York Bridge will be a 3-mile long dual span twin bridge The New New York Bridge will be a 3-mile long dual span twin bridge Zee Constructors LLC

The icy temperatures sweeping across the United States have caused foundation work on the new Tappan Zee Bridge to come to a halt.  The frozen areas of the Hudson River in New York are preventing tug boats from being able to move around safely.  Project leaders are not sure how long the delays will last, but the forecast for the next week looks promising with every day’s high temperature well above freezing.  As soon as the large chunks of ice floating in the Hudson River melt, workers can get back to installing piles to support the bridge.  The project schedule includes a two-month period each year where crews will not be able to work on the Tappan Zee Bridge due to weather restrictions.  As a result, this delay is not expected to affect completing the bridge by 2018, and construction is continuing to move forward on land.

The original Tappan Zee Bridge was finished in 1955.  It is a 3-mile long cantilever bridge that crosses the Hudson River and connects Rockland County to Westchester County.   Due to material shortages at the time of construction stemming from the Korean War, the Tappan Zee Bridge was only designed to last 50 years.  Daily vehicle traffic (138,000) is currently almost three and a half times higher than when the bridge opened in the 1950s.  Plans for a new bridge have been discussed since 1999, but it was not until October 2011 that the bridge replacement became a reality.  Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be finished in 2018.  The total cost of the bridge is $3.9 billion, and it is expected to last for over a hundred years.  

The New York State Thruway Authority will administer the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  The design calls for a dual-span twin bridge that will be built north of the existing bridge.  According to the new Tappan Zee Bridge’s website, “The New NY Bridge will mean less congestion for motorists, with eight traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, and state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems, as well as a dedicated commuter bus lane from the day it opens. Designed and constructed to be mass-transit-ready, the new crossing will be able to accommodate bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail. The bridge will also include a bike and pedestrian path.”  Bridge tolls are expected to increase to $12 to $15 per round trip from $5 to cross the current bridge.

Sources: LohudNewNYBridge

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