New NY Bridge Update

Photo Credits: New York State Thruway Authority. The New NY Bridge continues to take shape across the Hudson River right alongside the existing Tappan Zee Bridge. With a projected completion date scheduled for April 2018, there are many areas of expertise required to complete this amazing new bridge, which is designed and constructed to last 100 years without major structural maintenance.

 

For college students with an interest in marketing, communication or engineering, there is currently an intern job opportunity at both outreach centers in Rockland and Westchester, for a Community Outreach Liaison. The Westchester Community Outreach Center is located at 2 North Broadway in Tarrytown. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 11 am to 7 pm and Saturday-Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.
Visitors to the outreach centers can view displays that detail the construction process and materials, as well as experience hands-on interaction with bridge materials such as life-size cross sections of steel piles. Also available at the centers is artwork created by local residents on display, showcasing their interpretations of the New NY Bridge as well as the current Tappan Zee. The centers display models of the new bridge made up of Legos® and K’nex® pieces created by students throughout the region.

One hi-tech project of the New NY Bridge currently underway is to create a state-of-the-art toll plaza. As travelers approach the Tappan Zee Bridge from Rockland County, they will soon get a glimpse of the future. An overhead sign structure and related equipment is being installed at exit 10 on the southbound New York State Thruway in South Nyack providing a temporary all-electronic toll collection (AETC) facility. The new system will be tested this fall and activated in spring 2016. The benefit to drivers crossing the bridge is that they will no longer have to slow down at the toll plaza, enabling them to pay their toll while maintaining highway speeds, helping to minimize the bottlenecks that currently slow down the traffic.

As for structural engineering, the New NY Bridge is reinforced with over 60 million pounds of steel bars, and according to the New NY Bridge team, “more than three times as much steel as is in the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.” Rebar, commonly used to reinforce concrete, plays a crucial role in the strength of the new crossing, therefore, protecting the steel is especially important. The semi-salty water of the Hudson River can apparently penetrate the concrete, causing the rebar to rust or otherwise degrade. That is why each of the reinforcing steel bars is coated with zinc through a process called “hot-dip galvanization” that provides additional protection against rusting. This process provides a barrier and protection to delay potential corrosion, extending the life of the structure. The second of the New NY Bridge project’s two main span pile caps were completed in late August. Over 20,000 cubic yards of concrete were used to fill the massive foundations for the new bridge’s 419-foot towers.The pile caps are huge—each is the length of a football field. They will be placed on top of dozens of steel foundation piles, consolidating the piles’ strength and distributing the weight of the main span. Bridge workers spent many months inside the 14-foot deep caps carefully installing the layers of galvanized steel reinforcing bars before encasing it all in concrete.

The Community Outreach Centers and website, www.newnybridge.com offer many ways to learn about and observe the progress taking place during this historic bridge construction. There are also several areas where one can view this feat of engineering firsthand. The Westchester viewing platform for the New NY Bridge construction is located at Scenic Hudson River Walk Park, in Tarrytown. At this location, there are unobstructed views of the bridge construction progress and new seating that was recently added on the viewing platform. The entrance to the park is located at 250 West Main Street. The park is open from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

The three baby peregrine falcons living in a nest box high atop the Tappan Zee Bridge earlier this year took their inaugural flights and received the names Hudson, Bridge-ette and Zee as a result of a voting contest held in which students at local schools cast more than 3,000 ballots. However, the New NY Bridge has yet to be named. As the bridge comes closer to completion, there will be much speculation as to what this new bridge should be called Some say it should be named after Pete Seeger, an American folk singer, and activist in the Hudson Valley of New York throughout his life. Others feel it should remain the Tappan Zee. The New NY Bridge doesn’t seem to be an adequate name, and a task force that is studying the bridge’s financing, may consider selling the naming rights. No matter what it is called, the world’s widest bridge when complete will still be a sight to see.

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