Magnificent Metal Monday

 

On a recent trip to New Jersey, I had the distinct pleasure of crossing the Hudson River on the NEW $3.98 billion Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge!  The new bridge replaces the former Tappan Zee Bridge, which was built between 1952 and 1955 and served as one of New York’s primary crossings north of the city.  This new lasting icon is 3.1 miles long and is the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States. Located less than 20 miles north of New York City, the cable-stayed span crosses one of the widest parts of the river and will be the largest bridge in New York State history.

The iconic main span serves as the signature aspect of the bridge, with 419-foot “chamfered” towers outwardly inclined and geometrically aligned cables.  This design element offers a clean aesthetic, enhances structural support, vastly improves safety features and maintains the open air feeling of the Hudson Valley.

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The new bridge is a visually striking, recognizable landmark, and one of the widest cable-stayed structures of its kind in the world. Cable-stayed refers to a type of bridge where the deck is supported by straight cables attached to the towers.  The towers were built first and then deck sections and stays were progressively attached.  Watch a video of the center section being lowered into place just 3 weeks prior to opening the bridge.  The new bridge has eight general traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, a bike and pedestrian path and state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems as well as space for dedicated bus lanes from the day the bridge is fully opened. Designed and constructed to be mass-transit ready, the new crossing will also be able to accommodate bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail.

Bridge construction “by the numbers“:

  • 220 million pounds of steel
  • Total number of steel girders: 134 equaling 30 miles!
  • Length: Range from 290 to 410 feet
  • Weight: Up to 1,100 tons
  • Height: 8 to 12 feet
  • More than 7,000 workers
  • More than 764 New York companies were hired to build the bridge

The New York State Thruway Authority included a “Buy America” provision in its contract with Tappan Zee Constructors, the consortium designing and building the bridge, that required it to use steel and iron manufactured in the United States.  Steel made in Indiana was used for the project. Three of ArcelorMittal USA’s plate mills furnished the steel for the project and provided about 160,000 tons of plate for the twin-span crossing.

The original Tappan Zee Bridge opened on December 14, 1955 and has been one of the primary crossings of the Hudson River north of New York City.  During its tenure, it carried much of the traffic between southern New England and points west of the Hudson. The total length of the bridge approached 16,013 feet (3.0328 mi; 4,881 m). The cantilever span was 1,212 feet (369 m), which provided a maximum clearance of 138 feet (42 m) over the water.  You can watch the video of the iconic Tappan Zee Bridge currently being dismantled.

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