WTF? Tarrytown Lighthouse by jeffs4653, on Flickr
The current Tappan Zee Bridge in New York is 45 years old and talk of a replacement is going around.
Link: http://www.lohud.com/article/2010101603422 designs remain for new Tappan Zee Bridge
NEW CITY — There still isn't any money to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge but there are now two final designs for what the new bridge might look like.
One is a single-level span that would have room for trains to run in the middle, with bus lanes on either side of the tracks, and car and trucks traveling in the outer lanes (Plan 3, above).
The second design is a dual-level bridge (Plan 5, above). Trains would run underneath the north span. Vehicle traffic would be on the top level, with two dedicated bus lanes in the center. Because it would have fewer support structures than the single-level span, 66 compared with 118, it would take less time to construct.
Michael Anderson, leader of the Tappan Zee Bridge/Interstate 287 Corridor Project, unveiled the recommendations Friday in New City.
He said the two designs were narrowed from six options by the project's consultants — Earth Tech/AECOM, AECOM and Ove Arup, all of Manhattan — because they had the shortest construction times, lowest costs to build and the least environmental impact to the Hudson River. They also offered the greatest transportation flexibility and provided the safest emergency access.
"We haven't made any hard and fast decisions," Anderson said. "We're going to take these recommendations into consideration as we advance the DEIS (draft environmental impact statement)."
A new span to replace the soon-to-be 55-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge is just one part of the $16 billion project. It also would add bus rapid transit from Suffern to Port Chester along 30 miles of Interstate 287 and would call for the construction of a new passenger rail line across Rockland, over the new bridge and into Westchester onto Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line, ending at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
A new bridge with highway improvements in Rockland would cost $8.3 billion (the bridge alone is $6.4 billion); bus rapid transit would run $1 billion; and the rail line would cost $6.7 billion in 2012 dollars.
The two final bridge recommendations, as well as the transit and highway improvements that were unveiled Friday, will be analyzed in the environmental review, which is due to be finalized early next year.
The state Department of Transportation is the lead agency and is supported by the state Thruway Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad.
During the 3 1/2-hour meeting, project officials also said they were continuing to work on financing for the project but had secured no firm commitments.
Each of the bridge designs shares traits: four lanes in each direction; two dedicated bus lanes; safety shoulders; two railroad tracks (or the space to add them later); and a shared-use pedestrian and bicycle path on the north side of the span.
Anderson said in the case of the single-level span, where the train would run in its center, the tracks could be built at a later date in segmented sections at night, much like the ongoing deck replacement on the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The new bridge would be built about 400 feet north of the old one, and connect to the Thruway in the same places it does now.
The new bridge also would rise gradually to the midspan, unlike the current bridge, which features a steep grade to its highest point. That slope leads to many problems, Anderson said.
"We have determined that heavy trucks coming up this 3 percent grade ... results in a reduction of speed by about 15 mph," he said. "That is not good for traffic flow and probably contributes to a number of accidents."
It's also necessary to have a relatively flat grade in order for the trains to travel on the bridge.
Anderson spoke before more than 60 residents, politicians and transportation officials in New City at a meeting organized by Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell.
She has held similar summits on the project for the past six years.
Philip Ferguson, the head of the project's finance team, reported that it was focusing on the first phase of the project, namely securing $8.3 billion for the new bridge and highway improvements. It was looking at both "traditional and innovative" financing options, and said that it would require multiple funding sources.
Martin Robins, a transportation consultant who is working with the Rockland Legislature, said the cancellation of the New York-New Jersey rail tunnel project due to cost overruns proves how "brittle" the financing of public works projects are today.
"It just underscores the difficulty New York state DOT is having in 2010" in putting together a financing package, Robins said.