The long-awaited replacement for New York City’s longest bridge, the Tappan Zee, is set to open to the public on Friday, announced Governor Andrew Cuomo. After four years of construction, the first of the $4 billion dollar project’s twin two-span cable-stayed structures will welcome automobile as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic for the first time.
Renamed the late Mario M. Cuomo (after Cuomo’s father, himself a former NY Governor), the 3.1 mile bridge replaces its 61-year-old steel truss counterpart, built at one of the widest points of the Hudson River, connecting the New York counties of Rockland and Westchester.
The bridge design features eight 419-foot angled concrete towers, from which 192 stay cables connect back to the main decks. More than 110,000 tons of steel and 330,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in the project’s construction, including 6,000 precast concrete road deck panels. The bridge is estimated to accommodate approximately 140,000 per day.
Once fully completed, the new bridge will include eight standard traffic lanes with an additional four lanes for breakdowns and emergency vehicles – a component that the current bridge lacks, leading to frequent traffic issues and delays. According to the Governor’s Office, these extra lanes could also be used in the future as space for bus rapid transit or commuter rail lines. Also included in the final designs is a bicycle and walking path that will feature six individually-designed resting/viewing platforms.
The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects to use a design-build construction process intended to speed construction time and reduce total costs. Carried out by a consortium of firms known as Tappan Zee Constructors, the project is currently on schedule to be completed on time and $1 billion under initial estimates.
Construction on the eastbound bridge continues to progress, with an expected completion in 2018.