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Governor Cuomo Announces Lowering Of 532-Foot Center Span Of The Retired Tappan Zee Bridge

First of Five Massive Main Span Steel Sections to be Removed.

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The retired Tappan Zee Bridge began the process of being lowered onto a barge.

Photo by: Governor's Press Office, via Flickr.

New York, NY - May 9, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 532-foot-long center span of the retired Tappan Zee Bridge - the first of five main span sections - began the process of being lowered onto a barge overnight. Expected to be completed by 3 p.m. Wednesday, the dismantling operation is part of the construction of the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, an iconic twin-span cable-stayed crossing that links Westchester and Rockland counties across the Hudson River. The construction project to build the 3.1-mile bridge and ancillary facilities is one of the largest in the United States and the biggest in the history of the New York State Thruway Authority.
"New York is leading the nation in rebuilding and reimagining our infrastructure so we can meet the demands of the fast-paced, 21st century economy. For decades, the Tappan Zee Bridge was a symbol of government incompetence and procrastination but today's lowering of the main span of the old bridge marks the critical progress we have made," Governor Cuomo said. "The new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is critical to the growth and sustainability not only of the region, but of the entire state as we build a better, stronger New York. 
The 2,415-foot main span of the Tappan Zee Bridge will be removed in five separate operations, the first of which began overnight on Monday, May 7. Eight hydraulic strand jacks are lowering the 4,750-ton suspended center span onto a barge to be transported offsite for further disassembly.
The four other operations are scheduled to take place in the coming months. Barge-based cranes will remove two cantilever truss sections, while the two anchor spans will be lowered onto barges with the assistance of strand jacks. After the main span dismantling, the "I Lift NY" floating super crane will assist with the removal of the main span's steel support structures. The main span removal operation is expected to be complete by late fall.
This is a major milestone in the project's development and builds on progress including the shifting of westbound traffic from the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) onto the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge westbound span on August 26, 2017. The 62-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge was then officially retired on October 6, 2017, after eastbound traffic was transferred to the westbound span in a temporary traffic configuration (four traffic lanes in each direction). Since then, design-builder Tappan Zee Constructors has been dismantling the old bridge while also constructing the eastbound span, which is scheduled to open later this year.
TZC has demolished the landings of the old bridge, which occupied the same footprint of the new eastbound span. TZC recently connected the eastbound span to its Westchester landing and is working to link it to its Rockland landing. Once complete, drivers will reap the full benefits of the new twin-span, including:
  • Eight general traffic lanes;
  • Four breakdown and emergency lanes;
  • Dedicated bus lanes and space for commuter rail; and
  • A bicycle and walking path.
The 3.1-mile Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is the first cable-stayed bridge across the Hudson River. Featuring eight 419-foot towers standing at a five-degree angle, the bridge has a total of 192 stay cables that would stretch 14 miles if laid end-to-end. A cable-stayed bridge uses steel cables placed at an angle to connect the bridge deck to vertical towers that extend high above the roadway. To build the bridge:
  • More than 220 million pounds of all-American steel is being used;
  • Approximately 7,000 workers have contributed to date; and
  • Nearly 9 million work hours have been dedicated to this this project.
The project has been recognized across the nation, including by former President Barack Obama, who put it at the top of his list of critical infrastructure priority projects.
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Governor Cuomo recognizes that dependable infrastructure is a game-changer for travelers, businesses and the public at large. The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge marks another step toward transforming New York's infrastructure, reducing congestion for motorists and generating immense economic benefits for local communities."
New NY Bridge Project Director Jamey Barbas said, "Anyone who has driven on the new bridge has seen work progressing across the Hudson River. This bridge is a great example of the state's commitment to future generations of New Yorkers. Governor Cuomo deserves high marks for making this vital investment in our state."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, "The Tappan Zee Bridge served our County well, but transportation needs have changed since it was constructed and it is time for it to be taken down. I am so pleased the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is open. It is a symbol of innovation and technology - it also stands as a symbol that function can be beautiful. I want to thank the Governor for making a new bridge a reality for us here in Westchester."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said, "We are pleased to see the work on this project continuing. This new bridge is a vital economic link for Rockland and the entire Hudson Valley; I look forward to the full opening of this modern crossing that has been long awaited by our residents."
Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell said, "The lowering of this span is a major step toward the completion of the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and I applaud all of the hard working men and women who are helping bring this project to fruition. Infrastructure investments such as this are invaluable components of a vibrant state economy, and none are more important to our region than this new, more resilient and stronger crossing."
South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian said, "The construction of this new bridge will provide safe and more efficient travel for residents and visitors for generations, and I thank the Governor for recognizing the need to take action to replace the Tappan Zee. This massive undertaking has created jobs for local skilled laborers and will secure jobs for businesses on either side of the river for years to come."
At Governor Cuomo's direction, the New York State Thruway Authority has managed the bridge replacement project since 2013 with two fundamental objectives — first, to fully open the bridge to traffic in 2018, and second, finish the bridge at or below the budgeted cost of $3.98 billion.
Championed by Governor Cuomo, this project is using the design-build construction process, which incentivizes the private sector to be creative on methods that speed up construction time and reduce costs. This model is being used across New York's large infrastructure projects including on the new Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City.
The New York State Thruway Authority is the owner of the project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge, and TZC is the consortium designing and building the new bridge. The project remains on time and on budget.