“You know how I operate, all of the plans that come across my desk, must be sealed by a licensed professional engineer.”
Those were the words of Jamey Barbas, PE, and Project Director for the New NY Bridge project as she accepted a special award on June 8th from the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE).
The New NY Bridge, one of the largest bridge projects in the US, was awarded the NYSSPE Project of the Year award, which is selected and presented by the Professional Engineers in Construction (PEC) interest group of NYSSPE.
PEC was honored to present the New York State Thruway Authority, Tappan Zee Constructors, HDR, COWI Buckland & Taylor, GZA GeoEnvironmental, AECOM/URS and Greenman-Pedersen with the 2017 Project of the Year Award at last week’s 2017 Annual Conference in White Plains, NY
The New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) is replacing the existing Tappan Zee Bridge with a new 3.1-mile state-of-the-art, twin-span bridge across the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties. The $3.98 billion New NY Bridge project is the largest single design-build contract for a transportation project in the United States. Located 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. Construction started in fall 2013 and the project remains on schedule and within budget. More than 6,300 people have worked on the bridge to date.
In her acceptance speech, Barbas highlighted the importance of the work NYSSPE does in promoting the professional image of the engineering license in New York. She talked about the importance of NYSSPE membership and how it helped to shape her career as a young engineer.
Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium of some of the world’s best-known design, engineering and construction firms, is the design-builder. TZC’s principals include Fluor, American Bridge, Granite Construction and Traylor Brothers. HDR serves as the lead design engineer, while COWI Buckland & Taylor designed the 2,200-foot main span. GZA GeoEnvironmental is the foundation design engineer while AECOM/URS handled geotechnical design. Greenman-Pedersen has been responsible for contract inspection and quality assurance engineering.
With oversight by the Thruway Authority, the design-build team successfully developed innovative engineering techniques to meet an aggressive schedule while working in a challenging physical environment and minimizing impacts on the surrounding communities.
The Tappan Zee Bridge opened to traffic in 1955 and was designed to handle 100,000 vehicles per day. Today, more than 140,000 vehicles use the bridge daily and traffic delays are common. Narrow lanes and the lack of emergency shoulders further compound the frustration felt by motorists. The Tappan Zee Bridge has twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 570-mile Thruway system. In recent years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to maintain and repair the crossing.
The new bridge will have eight 12-foot-wide general traffic lanes with space for disabled vehicles, emergency responders and buses and an advanced traffic monitoring system. The new crossing is also being built with the structural capacity to handle commuter rail in the future. The bridge has been designed so that major maintenance for all major and non-replaceable components will not be necessary for at least 100 years.
The westbound span will also feature a 12-foot- wide shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path, which will include six overlooks — resting points that will reflect the rich culture and history of the Lower Hudson Valley.
The cable-stayed main span is supported with four sets of iconic 419-foot towers, which stand at five-degree angles. The towers will support 192 stay cables, which are made up of approximately 26 million linear feet, or 4,900 miles, of steel strands. The integrity of each strand bundle and the bridge itself will be tracked by a structural health monitoring system.
The westbound span is scheduled to open to traffic later this year. TZC will then demolish the old Tappan Zee Bridge so it can complete construction of the second span. Traffic will be shifted onto the eastbound span in 2018 and then the shared use path will be built.
The New NY Bridge is the first design-build delivered project for the New York State Thruway Authority and the state Department of Transportation.
NYSSPE was proud to award this project and to hear Ms. Barbas, Project Director highlight in her acceptance speech the importance of having licensed engineers involved in not just monumental projects like this one, but all engineering projects to ensure the safety and welfare of the public.
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