It has taken two decades of meandering through governmental regulations, four years of drilling and lifting, intense construction work, and more than 7,000 workers. But just after midnight tonight, when the calendar turns over from Friday into Saturday morning, the first drivers will cross over the new Tappan Zee bridge – the first construction project of that magnitude in the New York City region in more than 50 years.
The bridge is actually one of two – the other one is set to open next year. Running right alongside the old Tappan Zee bridge, this one stretches across one of the widest parts of the Hudson River. The new bridge is a sleek, two-span cable-stayed design that runs four lanes across the river. As the old bridge is slowly closed tonight, two lanes will open going in both directions. Eventually, there will be four lanes going either way, with each bridge taking travelers in one direction.
The construction of the new Tappan Zee bridge is a testament to infrastructure achievement. As the New York Times writes:
“More than 1,000 cylindrical piles were planted into the Hudson riverbed to create 41 pillars to hold up each span. Some 330,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured in construction, including some 6,000 precast concrete road deck panels. The main decks of both spans are held up by 192 cables stretched among eight 419-foot angled towers. The bridge will handle 140,000 cars a day.”
With money coming from Federal and State governments, the overall financing of this important project was $4 billion, making it one of the more intensive infrastructure investments in recent history. Projects like this can act as a vanguard for the action we need to take where our infrastructure is concerned. The GAIN coalition is happy to see the new Tappan Zee bridge unveiled, replacing the old bridge which opened in 1955. Updating and improving our nation’s infrastructure is vital for us to continue to thrive, and we hope to see a commitment to projects like this grow across the country.