Managers from the design and construction team for the new Tappan Zee Bridge met recently for the first time with community residents in Tarrytown and Nyack as part of the state’s effort to make the $3.9 billion project a model of transparency and community involvement.
At the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, five representatives of Tappan Zee Constructors L.L.C. and Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison Jr. fielded written questions from an estimated audience of about 100 persons in a half-empty conference hall. Brian Conybeare, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s special advisor on the Tappan Zee project, led the state’s carefully scripted presentation and the question-and-answer exchange. The former news anchor at Cablevision’s News 12 station in Yonkers read from a teleprompter the text that accompanied the state’s slideshow and video presentation of the “New NY Bridge.”
That is the name given the bridge replacement project, part of Cuomo’s New NY Works marketing program since taking office, Conybeare said in response to a question. “I have heard no discussion of changing the name of the bridge from the Tappan Zee” once the 3-mile-long twin-span bridge is built, he assured the audience.
Tappan Zee Constructors in its winning $3.142 billion design-build contract agreed to deliver a completed bridge in 5 years, 2 ½ months. The winning consortium includes Fluor Corp., American Bridge Co., Granite Construction Northeast Inc. and Traylor Bros. Inc. The project’s lead designer is HDR Inc.
Walter Reichert, project manager from Granite Construction and vice president of Tappan Zee Constructors, said the old bridge will continue to operate for the first three years of the project until middle or late 2016, when the northern westbound span of the new bridge opens. The old bridge then will be removed and traffic rerouted to the new four-lane northern span while the southern span is built and connected to land “exactly where the current bridge is,” Conybeare said
Reichert said the builder anticipates “negligible” closures on the existing bridge that would impede traffic during normal travel hours. Thruway Authority’s Madison said all-electronic tolling will be installed on the existing bridge during construction to improve traffic flow and might be permanently installed on the new spans.
John Duschang, project environmental manager and vice president at HDR, said the northern edge of the new westbound span will be about 150 feet closer than the current bridge to The Quay of Tarrytown, a condominium complex on South Broadway.
Conybeare said the project will utilize existing bridge landings in Westchester and Rockland to minimize construction in residential communities and property takings by eminent domain. “Nobody will be losing their homes because of this,” he said. The state will take a “sliver” of land at The Quay and a small piece of property at the Bradford Mews apartments in Nyack.
Conybeare said residents will have access to online, 24-hour real time video, noise and air quality monitoring of the project. Residents can call in noise and construction-related complaints on a project hotline at 1-855-TZBridge. Conybeare said Tappan Zee Constructors has agreed to a one-hour mitigation time for all excessive-noise complaints.
Community outreach centers for the bridge project have been opened at 303 S. Broadway in Tarrytown and at 142 Main St. in Nyack. Center hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
The spans will include pedestrian and bicycle paths and six overlooks on the northern side. “We want this to be a community resource, like a park that people can get out to if they want to,” said Conybeare.
With four 12-foot-wide traffic lanes and two emergency lanes on each span, “It will be a much more user-friendly bridge,” he said.
Though no date has been set for a project groundbreaking, test borings will be done in the Hudson River and staging areas will be established in March, Conybeare said. Test pilings will be installed in June. Dredging will begin in August and end by Nov. 1 before fish spawning season.
A distinctive design feature of the new bridge, H-shaped cable suspension support towers that lean outward, led one person in the audience to pose a double-barreled question:
“Are you wedded to the H-shaped frame?”
“Can Honda buy naming rights? “
Jeffrey Han, project design director with HDR, said the bridge tower design was both structurally efficient and visually striking. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people who will want to use it for their commercials,” he said.