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Thread: Tappan Zee Bridge Alteration or Replacement

  1. #16
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    I commuted using the Hudson Line of Metro North for 7 months before moving into the city... the commuter trains are completely safe at any hour of the day any day of the week. The only fear that I had was sleeping through my stop.

  2. #17
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    http://www.tzbsite.com/newsroom/pres...zb-review.html

    For Immediate Release: September 29, 2005

    Contacts:
    Daniel J. Gilbert, Director of Public Affairs, New York State Thruway Authority, 518-436-2983
    Marjorie Anders, Corporate & Media Relations, MTA Metro-North Railroad, 212-672-1200
    Peter Graves, Public Information Officer, New York State Department of Transportation, 518-457-6400

    New York State Thruway Authority, MTA Metro-North Railroad, and New York State Department of Transportation Recommend Six Alternatives for Further Study in Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Environmental Review

    Albany, NY, September 29, 2005 -- The New York State Thruway Authority, MTA Metro-North Railroad, and the New York State Department of Transportation released recommendations for six potential corridor-wide alternatives (PDF, 1 page/1.12 MB) to evaluate in greater detail in the next phase of the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Environmental Review.

    The overall goal of the study is to improve mobility now and in the future in a safe, secure, and cost-effective manner.

    The draft recommendations include alternatives ranging from maintaining the existing Tappan Zee Bridge to building a new structure with commuter rail that spans the entire I-287 corridor. The draft recommendations were released to the Inter-Metropolitan Planning Organization (or IMPO), an organization made up of government agency officials from the federal, state, and county levels that is guiding the study process. Also, the recommendations were released to the Westchester Rockland Tappan Zee Futures Task Force formed by county executives Andrew J. Spano and C. Scott Vanderhoef.

    Once these draft alternatives are accepted by IMPO, the agencies will begin an extensive public outreach effort to gain input about these alternatives from stakeholders and the general public. Following that effort, an Alternatives Analysis report will be issued, which will contain the alternatives that will be carried forward into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and will be subjected to rigorous evaluation as part of the DEIS process, resulting, ultimately, in the selection of a locally preferred alternative and a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

    “All parties that have a vested interest in the I-287 corridor are encouraged to participate in this study. So that we may make the best decisions for the traveling public, residents, and the corridor, input from the public is essential during this process,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer. “While the study is progressing, the Authority will continue to fulfill its responsibility to maintain and operate the Tappan Zee Bridge by continuing to make the necessary investments to assure safe and efficient travel for the millions of motorists that use the Bridge annually.”

    “This study offers an excellent opportunity for transportation planners to take a hard look at the I-287 corridor to identify the present and future needs,” said Peter A. Cannito, President of Metro-North Railroad. “With involvement from all stakeholders in the region, we will work together to find the best solution - a solution that will reduce the current and projected congestion in the corridor, provide transportation choices, and strengthen the economies of Rockland, Westchester, and Orange Counties.”

    New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Thomas J. Madison Jr. said, "As leader of the State Transportation Federation, NYSDOT is working to promote effective management of critical transportation corridors such as the I-287 corridor. The anticipated growth of passenger and rail traffic in the Hudson Valley over the coming decades means that we must prepare today to effectively meet the needs of tomorrow. Working closely with our Federation partners, transportation stakeholders, elected officials, and the general public, we will develop a plan for the I-287/Tappan Zee corridor that will improve mobility and reliability, enhance the environment, and promote safety, security, and economic competitiveness."

    Presented in no order of preference, the six corridor improvement alternatives (PDF, 1 page/1.12 MB) are:

    Alternative 1: No Build This alternative is required as part of the EIS process. The seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge and I-287 would be maintained in existing condition in order to avoid unacceptable levels of deterioration. The No Build Alternative also includes transportation improvements in this corridor that have already been approved. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $0.5 – 0.7 billion

    Alternative 2: Rehabilitation of the existing Tappan Zee Bridge with some new low-cost transportation improvements This alternative would include rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of the seven-lane Tappan Zee Bridge and some relatively low cost highway and bus transit improvements, such as new park-and-ride facilities, ramp metering, and bus priority access. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $2.0 – 2.5 billion

    Alternative 3: New bridge with highway improvements in Rockland County and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that runs from Suffern to Port Chester This alternative would replace the current facility with a new bridge featuring 8 general purpose (mixed-traffic) lanes, shoulder lanes for breakdowns, and 2 special lanes for high occupancy vehicles (Bus Rapid Transit, carpools, vanpools) and other vehicles willing to pay a higher toll to cross the bridge faster. (These are commonly called HOT lanes, or High Occupancy Toll lanes.)

    BRT would provide service between Orange and Rockland Counties and employment centers/office parks in Westchester County and Connecticut, as well as serve intra-county trips. Transfers at Tarrytown, White Plains, and Port Chester would increase access from Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties to Metro-North’s rail lines serving Manhattan. The new bridge could also include a pedestrian/bike path and wider areas that could allow for viewing, fishing, or picnicking and new climbing lanes (for slow moving uphill traffic) in Rockland County. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $5.0 – 6.5 billion

    Alternative 4A: New bridge with highway improvements in Rockland County and a Commuter Rail Line that runs from Suffern to Port Chester A new Commuter Rail Transit (or CRT) line would connect to the Hudson Line in the Tarrytown area, as well as run across Westchester County through White Plains, connecting to the New Haven Line at Port Chester. It would offer Orange and Rockland County riders a one-seat ride to employment centers and office parks in Westchester, Connecticut, and Manhattan. A new station would be built near the current Tappan Zee Bridge toll plaza to serve this new line. A transfer would be provided at White Plains to allow passengers to access the Harlem Line.

    This alternative would provide increased transit mobility within Westchester County, as well as increased access to Metro-North’s rail lines serving Manhattan. The new rail line would cross the Hudson River on a new bridge featuring 8 general purpose (mixed-traffic) lanes, shoulder lanes for breakdowns, 2 HOT lanes, and two commuter rail tracks. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $11.5 – 14.5 billion

    Alternative 4B: New bridge with highway improvements in Rockland County, a Commuter Rail Line that runs from Suffern to Tarrytown, and a Light Rail Line (LRT) from Tarrytown to Port Chester This alternative would include the same new bridge facility described in Alternative 4A and a CRT extending from Suffern through the new rail station near the existing Tappan Zee Bridge toll plaza with a connection to the Hudson Line. This commuter rail service would allow for a one-seat ride from Orange and Rockland Counties to Manhattan, and a transfer to a new cross-corridor light rail line at the new Tappan Zee rail station for travel eastward to White Plains and Port Chester, serving employment centers and office parks in Westchester and Connecticut. A transfer at White Plains would be provided to access the Harlem Line, and at Port Chester for the New Haven Line.

    LRT in Westchester County would provide for increased mobility within the county, as well as increased access to Metro-North’s rail lines serving Manhattan. Upper Hudson Line customers would transfer to the light rail at the existing Tarrytown Station, where the light rail would originate. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $10.0 – 12.5 billion

    Alternative 4C: New bridge with highway improvements in Rockland County, a Commuter Rail Line from Suffern to Tarrytown, and a Bus Rapid Transit System ((BRT) from Tarrytown to Port Chester This alternative is the same as Alternative 4B but with direct rail service from Orange and Rockland Counties to Manhattan and a transfer to a new cross-corridor BRT service at the new Tappan Zee rail station for travel eastward to White Plains and Port Chester serving employment centers and office parks in Westchester and Connecticut.

    BRT in Westchester County would provide for increased mobility within the county, as well as increased access to Metro-North’s rail lines serving Manhattan. It would also allow Upper Hudson Line customers to transfer to the BRT at the existing Tarrytown Station, where the BRT would originate. Cost estimate in 2004 dollars: $9.0 – 11.5 billion
    The DEIS process will analyze all relevant environmental impacts of these alternatives. However, in the course of the analysis, there may be a real benefit to travelers and/or communities in combining elements of one alternative with those of another alternative. In that event, the environmental impacts of one or more “hybrid” alternatives will be fully analyzed.

    In the course of developing the six alternatives described above, a number of proposed concepts were eliminated, following in depth analysis. Among these, a highway tunnel and rail tunnel under the river were eliminated from the alternatives list, due to concerns related to environmental and community impacts, construction risks, safety and security concerns, and higher cost.

  3. #18

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    NJT has wanted to reopen the West Shore line for a while, I believe up to Haverstraw. Hopefully they'll be able to do this soon, but I doubt it will since CSX doesn't really feal like playing ball.

    As for the Tappan Zee, hopefully they'll rebuild it with the commuter rail line, and extend the COMMUTER rail down I278 all the way to the New Haven Line. It'd be stupid to make someone take the train to Westchester, transfer to the light rail to Port Chester, and then transfer AGAIN to the New Haven line.

    Run 2 services. One from Port Jervis(or someplace south of there) to Suffern, then east towards Spring Valley area via the existing tracks. From there, along the highway, over the bridge, and along 278 to White Plains. From there, run them south to GCT. The other service would start maybe in Suffern or someplace south of there, run the same route to White Plains, but continue along I-278 to Port Chester, and then up to New Haven. So basically:
    Port Jervis/Suffern-White Plains-GCT
    Suffern-White Plains-Stamford-New Haven

  4. #19
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    I like your idea of the two lines, however instead of running to White Plains and then down to Grand Central, the GCT line should branch south at Tarrytown. It will cut 10 minute off the commute without impacting people who are going to White Plains, as they'll still have the Port Jervis-Suffern-White Plains-New Haven line to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by NIMBYkiller
    Run 2 services. One from Port Jervis(or someplace south of there) to Suffern, then east towards Spring Valley area via the existing tracks. From there, along the highway, over the bridge, and along 278 to White Plains. From there, run them south to GCT. The other service would start maybe in Suffern or someplace south of there, run the same route to White Plains, but continue along I-278 to Port Chester, and then up to New Haven. So basically:
    Port Jervis/Suffern-White Plains-GCT
    Suffern-White Plains-Stamford-New Haven

  5. #20

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    If it is a tunnel, that MAY be possible. However, if it is built via a bridge, it will be impossible. The approaches to the bridge will have to start VERY far south of the bridge. I would say miles south, but I am not sure exactly how far south b/c I don't know how high the new bridge would be at that exact point. That and the exact maximum allowable gradient for commuter railroads escapes me at the moment.

    I also realized that this could be an alternative to the Cross Harbor Tunnel. Just build connections to the NH line going towards/comming from the Hell Gate Bridge side. That way the trains no longer have to go all the way up to Selkirk to cross the Hudson. Still, a crossing at the southernmost possible point would be the best option....but it's something to think about as a possibility.

  6. #21

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    If I were a Rockland resident I wouldn't mind having that line back. I would rather go down to Secaucus or Hoboken and transfer to Midtown or Downtown via PATH, then take some stupid tunnel/bridge train that forces me to transfer twice in Westchester alone! As far as I'm concerned, CSX should STFU and allow for the residents of Rockland County to actually have some convenience in their lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by NIMBYkiller
    NJT has wanted to reopen the West Shore line for a while, I believe up to Haverstraw. Hopefully they'll be able to do this soon, but I doubt it will since CSX doesn't really feal like playing ball.

    As for the Tappan Zee, hopefully they'll rebuild it with the commuter rail line, and extend the COMMUTER rail down I278 all the way to the New Haven Line. It'd be stupid to make someone take the train to Westchester, transfer to the light rail to Port Chester, and then transfer AGAIN to the New Haven line.

    Run 2 services. One from Port Jervis(or someplace south of there) to Suffern, then east towards Spring Valley area via the existing tracks. From there, along the highway, over the bridge, and along 278 to White Plains. From there, run them south to GCT. The other service would start maybe in Suffern or someplace south of there, run the same route to White Plains, but continue along I-278 to Port Chester, and then up to New Haven. So basically:
    Port Jervis/Suffern-White Plains-GCT
    Suffern-White Plains-Stamford-New Haven

  7. #22
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    TomAuch, The rail crossing would make for a nonstop commute from rockland to Grand Central, unless I've misread the proposals. My support for this project stems 100% from this prospect.

    I've taken the train from Suffern (my hometown) to hoboken, then transferred to the PATH, and also taken the train to secaucus and transferred to Penn. As much as I hate buses, I now exclusively go through the port authority when travelling home to visit my parents because of the extra steps involved to take the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAuch
    If I were a Rockland resident I wouldn't mind having that line back. I would rather go down to Secaucus or Hoboken and transfer to Midtown or Downtown via PATH, then take some stupid tunnel/bridge train that forces me to transfer twice in Westchester alone! As far as I'm concerned, CSX should STFU and allow for the residents of Rockland County to actually have some convenience in their lives.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deimos
    TomAuch, The rail crossing would make for a nonstop commute from rockland to Grand Central, unless I've misread the proposals. My support for this project stems 100% from this prospect.

    I've taken the train from Suffern (my hometown) to hoboken, then transferred to the PATH, and also taken the train to secaucus and transferred to Penn. As much as I hate buses, I now exclusively go through the port authority when travelling home to visit my parents because of the extra steps involved to take the train.
    Will residents closer to the Hudson, particularly in Haverstraw, have direct train acess? I would be open to supporting the plan if that part of the West Shore Line could be revived and connected.

  9. #24

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    West Shore Line I believe is expected to operate to Hoboken via the Meadowlands.

    As for Rockland to GCT, it will be a ONE SEAT RIDE. NO transfers necesary.

  10. #25
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    From Access to the REgion's Core DEIS:

    The West Shore Line project includes commuter rail service from West Nyack, NY through Secaucus Junction and terminate in Hoboken (West Shore Line) and extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail on the CSX line between Tenafly and Hoboken (Northern Branch) and on the NYS&W corridor between Passaic county and Hoboken (Bergen-Passaic Light Rail). DEIS documents will be prepared for each of the proposed lines. Development of the West Shore/Sports Complex Rail Spur will be coordinated with proposed redevelopment of the Meadowlands Sports Complex. The project is sponsored by NJ TRANSIT, Bergen County, and Rockland County.

    http://www.accesstotheregionscore.co...dProjects.html

  11. #26

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    I don't think that there's been any serious talk of reviving the West Shore Line since 2001-2002, judging by the DEIS.

  12. #27
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    I think you're right, I haven't either. Too bad, a lot of people would benefit from it.

  13. #28

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    I haven't heard any talk for over a year either

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryan
    Yes, gangs of stockbrokers, bankers and Martha Stewart clones...
    They got ex-cons riding the trains, eh?

    Anyway, I hope they build a replacement. The brige is ALWAYS a pain in the ass to cross.

  15. #30
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    http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/p...511270359/1018

    Tappan Zee Bridge inspection shows years of deterioration

    By BRUCE GOLDING AND JORGE FITZ-GIBBON
    THE JOURNAL NEWS
    (Original Publication: November 27, 2005)

    Design flaws, corrosion and years of neglect have damaged the Tappan Zee Bridge so badly that an inspection report warns the beams supporting its safety railings could fail and more holes are likely to puncture its roadway.

    Photos from the 2,929-page report show cracked columns, steel beams eaten clear through by rust, and off-center support bearings missing as much as 40 percent of their concrete footings.

    The New York State Thruway Authority, which owns the bridge, initially refused to release the 10-volume report to The Journal News, but relented under pressure from the newspaper and government officials.

    The report's findings are "most alarming," said Clarkstown Town Board member Catherine Nowicki, who commutes daily over the Tappan Zee and is co-chairwoman of an advisory task force on the bridge.

    "We all don't like what we see, and then we're assured by the engineers that (they) are keeping up with repairs," she said. "People who have to go to work have no choice but to be assured."

    Thruway officials say the Tappan Zee remains safe, even though it will reach its planned 50-year life expectancy Dec. 15.

    "The bridge is not in a state of disrepair," said Ramesh Mehta, Hudson Valley division director for the Thruway Authority. "Of course, the condition is not like a new bridge. But its condition is safe."

    The inspection report was compiled last year after a federally mandated, biennial review of the bridge, which provides a vital link for about 140,000 vehicles travelling between Westchester and Rockland counties every day. State officials are now weighing six options to repair or replace the 3.1-mile span over the Hudson River.

    Those choices carry price tags as high as nearly $15 billion, not including the more than $100 million for planned repairs during the next two years. Added to those figures is more than $316 million spent on various fixes between 1995 and 2004 — spending that failed to keep the bridge's safety ratings from recently falling to some of their lowest levels in a decade, according to Federal Highway Administration data.

    As part of last year's inspection, engineers issued 47 new "flags" identifying structural flaws, including three "red flags" indicating imminent danger, statistics provided by the authority show. Another 11 flags were reissued because earlier problems had not been fixed.

    Specific findings included

    • Steel beams that support the bridge's safety walks and railings were in poor condition, and probably would fail if the railing was hit by a truck.

    • Parts of the roadway deck had deteriorated since the previous inspection, with areas of loose and cracked concrete that could open up into "punch-through" holes. Such holes now occur about once a month.

    • Buckling was found in some steel bracing beams, although earlier inspections "did not indicate any reference to any buckled" beams.

    Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, one of the officials who called for release of the report, said immediate action was needed by the Thruway Authority.

    "Their bridge is falling apart," Vanderhoef said. "They're racing to repair it, which is good. And they're ensuring that it's safe. But it's overused and it's got continuing defects that will crop up as a result of its age."

    Routine maintenance and repair operations regularly close portions of the seven-lane bridge, to the frustration of Lower Hudson Valley drivers who jam the bridge approaches, sometimes for miles at a stretch.

    The Tappan Zee's major design flaw is its drainage system — it essentially has none. Water from the roadway simply flows through slots under the curbs and onto the steel and concrete below. Water, road salt and dirt have washed over the bridge's substructure for decades, corroding steel and "spalling," or deteriorating, the concrete.

    "Most of the problem was the drainage that we had on the bridge," said Mehta, the authority division director. "About 80 percent of the flags are as a result of those problems, drainage problems."

    Retired Lehigh University engineering professor John Fisher, who worked as a consultant during a 2003 inspection of the Tappan Zee, also blamed the inadequate drainage for most of its problems.

    "I think you've got this corrosion because up to now they haven't done anything about controlling the water," he said. "I guess somebody has made the decision they are going to ignore it and let it keep continuing, perhaps with the thought that the bridge is going to be replaced or seriously rehabbed."

    Photos and flag reports from the 2004 inspection report detail dozens of bearings, beams and columns compromised by the roadway runoff — damage, Fisher said, that took years to occur.

    Fisher said the deterioration did not appear to jeopardize the bridge's support structure, but it needed to be addressed before it became more severe.

    "You wouldn't get this degree of corrosion without maintenance problems," he said. "Maintaining and controlling the water: That's a maintenance problem. ... Allowing dirt and debris to stay on the structure for large lengths of time: Those are maintenance problems."

    Thruway officials contend they can keep the bridge up and running safely with continued repairs and upgrades.

    "It's not a battery," project engineer Jim Morrow said. "We can recharge the bridge."

    That assertion was challenged by Vanderhoef, the Rockland county executive.

    "You got a C battery for a D-battery job," he said. "No matter how much you recharge it, it simply is not going to do the trick. It's designed for 100,000 vehicles and it's at 140,000 vehicles and climbing. So even if you use the analogy, the D battery is required now."

    To solve the problem, the Thruway Authority, the Metro-North Railroad and the state Department of Transportation in September pared down to six the number of potential long-term fixes for the bridge, ranging from a $500 million plan to keep it in service as-is to a $14.5 billion proposal for a new span that would also carry both heavy- and light-rail lines. The short list eliminated controversial plans for a tunnel crossing to replace the bridge.

    Still, the Thruway Authority is now planning the next interim upgrades. Last month, it announced plans to spend more than $100 million over two years to replace much of the roadway deck and some steel beams. An additional $4 million will be used to repair parts of the substructure.

    The repairs include a plan to correct the drainage problem: installing a small lip under the bridge where the water drains off the roadway to interrupt the flow onto the substructure, and cause the water instead to drip directly into the river below.

    The Thruway Authority concedes that the bridge was cheaply built, constructed amid steel shortages during the Korean War.

    Although earlier bridge inspection reports were routinely available for public inspection, the Thruway Authority refused in June to release the latest report to The Journal News. After an appeal under the New York Freedom of Information Law, the authority turned over just 25 heavily blacked-out pages from the 2,929-page report, saying the withheld material could be used by terrorists to target the bridge for attack.

    Public criticism of the authority's action — including allegations of a cover-up — led officials to reconsider their decision.

    After details that could be used to identify specific locations on the bridge were blacked out, the newspaper was allowed to review the entire report.

    The authority also developed a computerized picture show on the bridge's condition that it presented to the newspaper, county leaders from Westchester and Rockland and members of an advisory task force created by the counties in the wake of the newspaper's reporting.

    After seeing the presentation, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano said that the bridge had clearly been neglected for decades, and that he would never allow a county-owned bridge to deteriorate as badly as the Tappan Zee.

    "Anytime you have a government, a state government that's constantly in turmoil financially, this is what happens," Spano said. "This is the stuff that gets left by the wayside."

    But Spano also said he had faith in the Thruway Authority's commitment to maintain the bridge. "I have confidence that now it's being done thoroughly," he said. "I don't have any confidence that it was being done thoroughly prior to this."

    Marsha Gordon, president of the Westchester Business Council and co-chairwoman of the task force, also said she felt reassured after seeing the presentation.

    "I think people felt that the Thruway Authority is very much on top of the issue and they have extensive programs in place to make sure that the bridge stays safe until it's no longer needed," she said.

    Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell, who sits on the Tappan Zee advisory task force, said the widespread deterioration of the bridge made dealing with it something of a "double-edged sword" for the Thruway Authority.

    "They don't seem to have a very strong interest in repairing the bridge long-term. They do seem to want to replace it," he said. "On the other hand, they also have a definite interest in not alarming the public, not looking like they're not doing their job."

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