The Obama Administration has selected the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project to be fast-tracked through federal approvals. After years of waiting, funding is finally available. Construction of the new Hudson River crossing will create tens of thousands of jobs – both directly and indirectly.
“One cannot overstate the role of this Hudson River Crossing to our states economy, our transportation system and New York’s future. It has assumed a priority on the Governor’s agenda because he recognizes, as few have, that without a viable bridge crossing, our ability to move people and products will literally come to a screeching halt. Commerce, as we know it, will cease. After decades of planning, study and commentary, New York has no choice but to replace a span whose mission is irreplaceable.”
— Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors Association
Completed in 1955, the Tappan Zee Bridge was built during a period of material shortages with a 50-year life span. Although it was designed to handle a maximum capacity of 80,000 cars, the structure far exceeds the recommended limit with an average of 140,000 vehicles per day. Now seven years past its intended life cycle, the Tappan Zee Bridge is functionally obsolete and no longer able to safely meet traffic demands.
It’s estimated that it would take $150 million each year for the next 10 years to maintain a bridge that is already obsolete. The economic impact caused by the delays is sizable.
“We at the Council are fully in favor of moving ahead with this important project as quickly as possible. We thank the Governor and his team for their continued work on this project that will help put men and women back to work in New York State.”
— Edward Doyle, President of the Westchester Building Trades Council
The new Hudson River crossing will join the likes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland and Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana as a dual-span bridge designed to meet the needs of the 21st century. Approved by Homeland Security, the new bridge design includes wider lanes, the addition of shoulders and emergency lanes, and a dedicated rush-hour bus lanes that allow for the future addition of mass transit. Safer and smoother traffic flow will benefit both commuters and truckers.
In addition, the design of the new bridge will meet the current seismic performance standards for safety and functionality for a “critical bridge” as defined by the New York State Department of Transportation’s Load and Resistance Factor Design specifications. A critical bridge must continue to be functional after a major earthquake to serve as a primary route for civil defense and emergency response. The existing bridge does not meet the current seismic performance standards.
Bridge plans also address the significant deteriorating effects of salt corrosion, salt leakage and other corrosive conditions resulting from the Hudson River’s harsh marine environment. The new bridge will also allow for the easy addition of future mass transit.