New York State has selected a $3.14 billion design to replace the deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge that spans the Hudson River north of New York City. The current bridge is six years past the builder’s anticipated lifespan and is used by 40 per cent more vehicles than it was originally built to accommodate.
The New York State Thruway Authority granted the design-and-build contract to the Tappan Zee Constructors consortium, which includes the original builders of the bridge, American Bridge Company, Fluor Enterprise, Granite Construction Northeast Incorporated and Traylor Bros. The team’s design was the least expensive of the three final proposals.
The state has spent over $750 million in the past decade maintaining the bridge that carries more than 138,000 vehicles across the Hudson River each day. The bridge, which opened in 1955, has no shoulder lanes, resulting in frequent accidents and traffic jams. Accidents on the current bridge are double the average of the rest of the Thruway, which spans 574 miles.
At a length of 3.1 miles, the new bridge will connect Rockland County with Westchester County in the Hudson Valley. The new bridge is designed to last for over 100 years and will include eight lanes and a pedestrian and cyclist path. The new design has a shallow superstructure and reduces the quantities of dredge, making a smaller environmental impact and keeping costs down. The bridge’s cable-stayed structural system features outwardly slanting main span towers and will be fully equipped to hold future transit system loads.
The bridge is a toll-way, which is expected to triple in price from the current $5 to help the state recover costs. New York State anticipates that the federal government will grant them a $2.9 billion loan to begin construction.
At $3.1 billion, the project is one of the largest in New York’s history. The total cost will likely reach nearly $4 billion after adding environmental mitigation, management and financial costs to construction totals. Those figures come in below the $5 billion the state had originally estimated the project would cost.
Construction is scheduled to begin next year and will be completed by 2018.