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Thread: Tappan Zee Bridge Alteration or Replacement

  1. #31
    Architectural Padawan
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    Mar 2004
    Turtle Bay


    Dear Tappan Zee Bridge Subscriber,

    Attached is a press release that was issued this morning, Monday, December 5, 2005.

    If you are not able to open the attached public workshop meeting announcement, the information has been cut and pasted below.

    For the latest project information, please visit the Tappan Zee Bridge website at

    The Department of Public Affairs

    ===================text version====================

    For immediate release: December 5, 2005

    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,

    Public invited to attend sessions in Westchester & Rockland Counties

    The New York State Thruway Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Railroad and the New York State Department of Transportation today announced they will hold public workshops in Westchester and Rockland Counties on December 12 and 13 as part of the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Environmental Review. This round of workshops, the fifth in the study thus far, will focus on the six alternatives that will be carried forward for further analysis in the next phase of the study. These meetings are open to the public.

    * The first workshop will be held in Westchester County, Monday December 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the New York Power Authority - Jaguar Room, 123 Main Street, White Plains, NY.

    * The second workshop will be held in Rockland County, Tuesday December 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Palisades Mall - Adler Room, 1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack, NY.

    The Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Environmental Review is the forum for developing a solution to the problems of congestion, mobility and structural issues related to the Tappan Zee Bridge and I-287 corridor. After extensive study, and four rounds of public meetings, six alternatives have been identified for more detailed technical and public scrutiny. This round of workshops is an opportunity for the public to join the project team in a discussion of the six alternatives that will be thoroughly studied in the next phase of this effort, known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) process.

    Team members for the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Environmental Review will make presentations on the six alternatives at 4:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. at each workshop, with question and comment periods following. Project displays will be available before and after the presentations, along with literature about the project and comment sheets for those who prefer to submit written comments. Light refreshments will be provided.

    The alternatives have also been reviewed by IMPO, the Inter-Metropolitan Planning Organization guiding the study; the Westchester Rockland Tappan Zee Futures Task Force, a group appointed by the County Executives in Westchester and Rockland County; and by the Stakeholder Committee, a project-related group of 240 individuals and organizations in the region.

    Directions to the Westchester County workshop at the New York Power Authority: From Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Tappan Zee Bridge: I-287 (Cross Westchester Expressway) east to Exit 6, taking right turn at light onto Route 22 South, North Broadway. Proceed south on Route 22 taking right turn onto Martine Avenue. Proceed on Martine Avenue and at the third traffic light, take right turn onto Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Take right at next traffic light onto Main Street, and immediate left onto William Street, into parking garage. Directions to the workshop facilities may be obtained by calling Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates at 917-339-0488.

    Directions to the Rockland County workshop at the Palisades Mall: From Westchester: Tappan Zee Bridge West (87 North/287 West) to Exit 12 of the NYS Thruway - West Nyack - Palisades Center. From New York City: George Washington Bridge to the Palisades Interstate Parkway North to Exit 9E to the NYS Thruway (87 South/287 East) to Exit 12 - West Nyack - Palisades Center. To Palisades Center Community Rooms: Enter Palisades Center at mall entrance between Lord & Taylor and Filene's. Take Elevator to 4th Floor and follow signs for Skating Rink/Community Rooms.

    Additional information on the six alternatives has been placed on the project website at Please keep checking the site for updates and announcements.

  2. #32
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    Feb 2003
    New York City


    Engineering Record

    Possibility Grows for New Cable-Stayed Span on the Hudson

    By Richard Korman in Nyack

    Three key transportation agencies in the planning behind a possible replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York City say they have eliminated tunnels as an option, increasing the likelihood that a new bridge will be built. A cable-stayed bridge has the greatest potential of being built, suggest engineers involved in and observing the planning process.
    The possibility of a cable-stayed bridge became apparent at a Dec. 6 briefing for stakeholders in Nyack, N.Y., where representatives of the New York State Dept. of Transportation, which recently took over the leadership of the project, the New York State Thruway Authority and Metro North Railroad, told civic leaders, preservationists and others that all options are being considered. Mark Roche, an associate of Arup, the bridge engineers working for the Thruway Authority, also said he is agnostic on the issue of bridge type.

    Officially, the three transportation agencies unveiled recommendations that will be refined after community input and submitted for environmental review. In addition to eliminating tunnels, the three agencies dropped the idea for a light-rail spur on the western, or Rockland County, side of the span but continue to consider a plan for the new bridge to contain a commuter-rail line. It would connect with the region’s existing network and a light-rail line from Tarrytown on the eastern, or Westchester County, side to Port Chester, N.Y.

    The main goal is to alleviate traffic that is choking the entire I-287 corridor and the deteriorated 50-year-old causeway and truss structure. Possibilities include high occupancy lanes and a new intermodal connection near Tarrytown.

    Planning will take another five years and construction five more, estimates Michael Anderson of the Dept. of Transportation.

    A cable-stayed structure is increasingly likely for several reasons. Adequate anchorages are lacking for a suspension bridge, notes Neal H. Bettigole, a Saddle River, N.J.-based engineer. And Hudson River Valley residents and political leaders are calling for a beautiful bridge. "Esthetics are important," says Orangetown Supervisor Thom Kleiner. A truss bridge not only is hard to maintain, says one engineer working on the project, "It’s out of the question because it won’t be beautiful."

  3. #33


    Cable-stayed bridges are really becomming popular, and they are really nice too.

    Hopefully this will get built, and with the commuter rail.

  4. #34


    Quote Originally Posted by ryan
    Um, have you ever been to New York? It's not a cartoon.
    Yes I have been to NYC, lived there in fact from 1969 till 1984, had numerous bikes, wallets, one camera, watches and other things stolen from my person, one burglary and three attempted burglaries that I knew of- including a daring dude who climbed the fire escape by my loft at 611 Broadway to the 7th floor and skinnied himself along the 7th floor exterior window sills, opened my window, removed the screen, discovered ME and went back the way he came.

    Also had the glass window in the door of my loft smashed in.

  5. #35
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    I hope you know that New York is not the place it was from '69 to '84. that was a very bad crime era and it's a different scene now. 22 years!
    I feel safer at home in Manhattan than I do in most cities I visit.

  6. #36
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Pardon my soapbox on TZB, but ...


    Published: December 28, 2005

    Nobody asked me, but if I were His Omnipotence and could arbitrarily decide on a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, this is what would be done. I write this from the perspective of both a third-generation Rocklander but also a fellow who has an opinion, just like anyone else.

    Acknowledging that the 50-year-old existing span was (1) deliberately built on the cheap so a cash register could quickly be in place to pay off Thruway bonds and maintenance, and (2) that the zestful, giddy nature of 1950s interstate highway road planning, mostly head in the sand, continues even after the I-287 connection at Hillburn in the early 1990s was allowed to greatly increase truck traffic through and about Rockland, the resolve would be that we do not repeat the mistakes. At least not so very badly.

    Therefore, any new structure or tunnel or combination would have to last as long as the Brooklyn Bridge (since 1883) but would not carry any additional traffic than now endured. Less, I would hope. There can be no added air, noise and visual pollution in what the highway people like to call the "Rockland Corridor," as if we were just an alleyway of others' convenience. Which we are all too often.

    Now, be it resolved, according to His Omnipotence

    • The crossing would be both tunnel and bridge, a two-way, multiple-lane vehicular/rail tunnel, with trains running fully by tunnel from Rockland to the Hudson Line tracks near Tarrytown and thus offering the illusive one-seat ride to Gotham.

    Vehicles, though, would emerge from the tunnel while still in the river, exiting via a causeway ramp to a bridge that would continue to the present connection at Tarrytown.

    • The Thruway in Rockland would end above ground just pass Route 303 in West Nyack and then the road and new rail would drop into the tunnel. All present Thruway land to the Hudson would be cleared for open space, river parks and restoration of old downtown South Nyack, with Victorian and other period-style housing and shops. A fortune could be made by the Thruway on this land sale.

    • Before a new crossing is built, require that all trucking bound for New England shore area cities and communities take the Thruway north to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, then Route 84 and, via a new connector interstate highway in Connecticut, to Route 95. Regular motorists would be strongly encouraged to do so as well. A new bridge or tunnel might be necessary at Newburgh.

    • Trucks going to New York City, Westchester and lower Connecticut would travel night hours only.

    • Regular commuters would get a fast-track lane and be required to use 55 mph EZ-Pass.

    • No maintenance work could be performed during peak travel time.

    • How to pay for it all? Well, "Homeland Security" and Defense Department money, that's how. Take a leaf from history. For years after the Thruway was built, Nyack tried to get an entrance northbound (westbound) near Route 59. The Thruway never answered, until the late Virginia Parkhurst, our fine, longtime Nyack area reporter, found out that the section of the Thruway from roughly Spring Valley over to the TZB area was part of the initial Eisenhower Defense Highway network and so the exit could be funded federally. It was built in the late 1960s. Also, the bridge itself was permitted by a 1930s War Department permit, again recognizing the crossing's place in our national defense.

    Therefore, construct any new Hudson crossing using Defense Department and Homeland Security funds, to continue the vital Eisenhower Defense Highway network. (Ike began the U.S. interstate system after his experience with the German Autobahn during World War II, and he realized the military and civilian benefits.)

    Finally, people, all you well-intentioned ones who want to do it right this time, don't build anything that will route even more traffic and thus woes through the "Rockland Corridor." If you do, you will give us misery and you will still need another, wider crossing in just a generation or so, as bigger highways bring more traffic. As for the crossing itself, use the best and most-lasting materials this time.

    (Pardon my soapbox, but this is what I would do.)

    Copyright 2005 The Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper serving Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties in New York.

  7. #37


    January 17, 2006

    A Bridge That Has Nowhere Left to Go


    The Tappan Zee Bridge, the most critical transportation link across the Hudson River north of New York City, is not even half as old as the Brooklyn Bridge, but its warranty has already expired.

    Started on the cheap during the Korean War, the Tappan Zee was deliberately built to last just 50 years. It passed that milestone last month, just days after transportation planners began gathering public advice about how to fix or replace it.

    But the decaying, overburdened span's anniversary was more bitter than sweet. Little love has been lost between the Tappan Zee and the tens of thousands of commuters who depend on it. They complain about the poor condition of its roadway and the backups caused by every breakdown and flat tire.

    Even before it was built, the bridge's own designers said it would be one of the "ugliest" in the region. Half a century later, the Tappan Zee has not aged gracefully. There are cracks in its concrete columns, its superstructure is rusting away and its deck is nearly worn through.

    The New York State Thruway Authority, which owns the 3.1-mile-long bridge carrying the Thruway over the Hudson, has said that the deck, some structural steel, the concrete walkway and electrical systems have "deteriorated significantly." The authority plans to spend more than $100 million next year just to patch the bridge's holes and replace some of its corroded steel, a process sure to make travel even slower for commuters.

    Catching daily glimpses of the long cracks in the bridge's superstructure frightens Brett Ruskin, who drives from his home in Monsey across the Tappan Zee to Tarrytown, where he catches a Metro-North train to Grand Central Terminal. "My biggest concern is not so much the traffic, because the big problem with the Tappan Zee Bridge is it's falling apart," Mr. Ruskin said. "Every morning I go out there and I pray. I say, 'Please God, don't let the bridge come down today. Let me get across it first.' "

    After years of dawdling while the bridge crumbled, state officials say they are rushing to complete a review of the most feasible solutions to the problem of the Tappan Zee. But a decision is still two years off and a new bridge would require eight additional years and as much as $14.5 billion to build, they say.

    To help defray the cost, Gov. George E. Pataki intends to renew his call for giving the private sector a role in the project when he presents his budget tomorrow, people who have been briefed on his plans said. Selling the bridge, in whole or in part, to one or more companies would require legislative changes that were rejected in Albany last year.

    For many elected officials and transportation planners, the Tappan Zee, which carries about 140,000 vehicles per day, cannot be replaced soon enough. It was built between Tarrytown, in Westchester County, and Nyack, in Rockland County, at what is nearly the widest part of the Hudson River, in the 1950's, when Rockland was still largely rural and just beginning to attract New York City commuters.

    The bridge, which cost just $81 million - the equivalent of about $550 million today - was built using a naval construction technique that incorporated a set of hollow concrete caissons to support the main span.

    Unlike other bridges in the region - The Brooklyn Bridge is 122 years old, and the George Washington Bridge will turn 75 this year - the Tappan Zee was not built to last, because of wartime pressures, according to Ramesh Mehta, the divisional director of the Thruway Authority in charge of the southern Hudson Valley.

    "The fact of the matter is that the bridge is past its usable life and no matter what repairs are done it must ultimately be replaced," said C. Scott Vanderhoef, the Rockland County executive. "It's reached its age limit and it's reached its capacity. We're just pouring money into a bridge that ultimately will not be there."

    Mr. Vanderhoef's counterpart at the other end of the span, Andrew J. Spano, the Westchester County executive, blames the bridge's poor condition on the benign neglect of "screwed-up government." State officials consistently refused to level with the public about how much money was required to maintain critical infrastructure, like the Tappan Zee, he said.

    "First of all, it wasn't built properly," Mr. Spano said. "Second of all, it wasn't maintained."

    Governor Pataki first mentioned the possibility of replacing the bridge in 1999, but by early last year, scant progress had been made.

    When the Thruway Authority and the two other agencies that had been charged with proposing solutions, the Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad, fell a year behind schedule last summer, Mr. Spano and Mr. Vanderhoef created a task force to spur the state into action.

    "We thought they were dragging their heels," Mr. Spano said.

    The agencies had hit an impasse on the question of whether a tunnel that could carry commuter trains should receive serious consideration as an alternative to a new bridge, transportation planners and officials said.

    "In my experience, it's always good to put some person or entity in charge that can be held accountable," Mr. Vanderhoef said. By the fall, Mr. Pataki "did the right thing and said, 'Enough,' " he said, referring to Mr. Pataki's decision to hand control of the review process to the Transportation Department.

    In late September, the three agencies announced that they had whittled the original list of about 15 alternatives down to six. Two of them involve keeping the old bridge and repairing it, either a little or a lot. A complete rehabilitation of the Tappan Zee would cost at least $2 billion, the planners estimated.

    The four remaining options call for a new bridge, which would be built alongside the old one, just north of the existing span. Each involves a different configuration of mass transit - either commuter trains, light rail or express buses - sandwiched between the traffic lanes. The estimates for a new bridge range from $9 billion to $14.5 billion.

    The planners ruled out a tunnel because it would cost considerably more, would have more harmful effects on the ecology of the river and would disrupt traffic patterns in Rockland County, they said. But Michael Anderson, the Transportation Department official who was installed as the team leader for the review, said no decisions have been made about what type of bridge would replace the Tappan Zee.

    At a presentation last month in Nyack, Mr. Anderson said the planners expected to choose one of the alternatives by the end of next year. If a new bridge is built, he said, it would probably be completed in 2015. In the meantime, he assured the audience that "the roadway is safe and will be safe for the foreseeable future."

    So far, not a dollar of the design and construction costs has been pledged by the federal government or by any state or local agencies. The bridge will vie for funding with a long list of major projects that would enhance the region's transportation network, not provide a transplant for one of its vital organs.

    The competitors, each of which is expected to cost more than $5 billion, include the Second Avenue subway, connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal and a proposed second passenger-train tunnel between New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan.

    Already, the Tappan Zee planners are assuming that the tunnel to Midtown, a pet project of Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Jon S. Corzine, the state's incoming governor, will be built. Mr. Anderson said the Tappan Zee project would be "in competition for a limited amount of funds available for the next 25 years." To improve its chances, he said, the planners would soon take the unusual step of conducting a study of potential sources of funding, instead of waiting until they have a specific plan for the bridge.

    The federal government does not usually allocate money for projects before local officials have settled on a proposal and conducted full reviews of its economic and environmental impacts. But some elected officials have criticized Governor Pataki and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for not demonstrating a stronger commitment to replacing the Tappan Zee.

    Ryan S. Karben, a Democratic assemblyman from Pearl River, in Rockland County, said he was disappointed that no money has been included in the latest capital budgets of the Transportation Department or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for replacing the bridge.

    Mr. Karben, who is an ardent proponent of adding commuter train service from Rockland County to Manhattan, said he wrote to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials asking them to "give us at least a symbolic commitment, a symbolic set-aside of funds to encourage this process." But his appeal failed, he said. "I find it strange to have a conversation about what the best way to replace the Tappan Zee is, independent of an available funding stream, because the funding stream inevitably constrains our planning," Mr. Karben said. "Without a realistic financial strategy, the planning is for naught."

    To secure federal funding for mass transit, the planners need to prove that the project would be cost effective, said Jeffrey Zupan, senior transportation fellow at the Regional Plan Association. He said he has pressed Mr. Anderson to be more forthcoming about estimates of how many people would ride trains or buses across the bridge and how much extra it would cost to connect trains running over the bridge directly to Metro-North tracks in Westchester for a "one-seat ride" to Manhattan.

    "What they need to do is to be very open in public about the situation and not string people along who see the holy grail, which is the one-seat ride," Mr. Zupan said.

    The voice of Mr. Vanderhoef, the county executive, who was born in Orangetown and graduated from Tappan Zee High School, carries no trace of sentiment when he talks about the future of the old bridge that sparked a boom in Rockland. The county's population has more than tripled, to 290,000 residents, since 1950, and is projected to increase by more than 25 percent in the next 25 years.

    "I don't think it's that ugly," Mr. Vanderhoef said of the Tappan Zee, adding that he did not care about the appearance of its replacement.

    "The key is that it operate, that it handle the traffic," he said. "If that requires a lack of aesthetic approach, then so be it. I'm not suggesting that we build an ugly bridge, but if it requires that, then fine."

    * Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  8. #38
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    "The key is that it operate, that it handle the traffic," he said. "If that requires a lack of aesthetic approach, then so be it. I'm not suggesting that we build an ugly bridge, but if it requires that, then fine."
    Right, it might require that it be ugly. Moron.

  9. #39
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    Sep 2004


    I followed a similar stupid conversation regarding the Peace Bridge from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario. Ugly meant steel, which was being pushed as part of a backroom deal. Steel is just not an appropriate material for a bridge in our climate, and I read many many arguments to that effect. Most any cable-stayed concrete bridge would be beautiful.

  10. #40
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by ryan
    I followed a similar stupid conversation regarding the Peace Bridge from Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario. Ugly meant steel, which was being pushed as part of a backroom deal. Steel is just not an appropriate material for a bridge in our climate, and I read many many arguments to that effect. Most any cable-stayed concrete bridge would be beautiful.
    Steel or concrete would work, although you would need to go to additional lengths to ensure weatherability.

    A precast concrete plank system might be better, but even concrete has problems with the ocean you know.

    Between that and the salt from the winter servicing, it will leech and corrode the reinforcement in the bridge just as sure as it will get into a steel bridge.

    Also, steel is cheaper to erect, in general, than concrete. So more could be spent on overdesign rather than manpower hours....

    They would have to look into all possibilities and truly figure out what would last the longest.

    Oh, BTW, not ALL steel bridges are ugly you know. That, and if it wasn't for the overdesign of the BB to begin with, and it's reinforcement (10 years ago?) it would be in trouble now as well.

    We could never afford another BB in these times.

  11. #41
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jersey City


    I think a suspension bridge would be a apporpriate or even a cabel statyed bridge given the fact that it is at a wide part of the Hudson. Cable stayed bridge would be my favorite like the Zakum Bridge in Boston and also over in France they completed the tallest bridge in the world and it goes over an extremely large distance and also I think its the Sunshine Birdge or something down in Florida which is similar to the current Tappen Zee except that arch is cable stayed and no steel and the roadway goes over a long distance over the water. If anyone can find a pic of cable stayed to show everyone what Im talking about. Thx

  12. #42

  13. #43
    Forum Veteran
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    Nov 2002
    New York City


    Just out of curiosity, what are the projected lifespans of the major NYC bridges?

  14. #44


    Yes, I believe it is the Sunshine Skyway running from Tampa, Fl to St Pete, Fl. The original bridge collapsed in 1980 when a tanker slammed into it, taking a few cars and a packed Greyhound bus with it. 35 dead, including everyone on the Greyhound.

  15. #45


    "The key is that it operate, that it handle the traffic," he said. "If that requires a lack of aesthetic approach, then so be it. I'm not suggesting that we build an ugly bridge, but if it requires that, then fine."
    Not sure there's any such thing as an ugly bridge. Bridges are poster boys for the theory that if something's design is functional it's simultaneously bound to be beautiful.

    A bridge design is nearly 100% generated by structural (i.e. functional) considerations; as in a Calatrava building, the beauty is in the math, and we all respond to it because instinctively we can tell it is correct. If a person thinks a bridge design is ugly, chances are it's because he knows too much that ain't so. For example, some of us know that exposed steel trusswork is ugly because our grade school teachers or mothers told us so.

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