NY Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the opening of the first span of the former Tappan Zee Bridge, now named after his father — the late Governor Mario M. Cuomo. The westbound-span, which crosses the Hudson River from Westchester towards Rockland County, opened early Saturday morning to traffic for the first time.
The Fluor-led joint venture of Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC., comprised of American Bridge, Granite and Taylor Bros., shifted all four lanes of westbound traffic from the existing bridge to the new span overnight on August 25. The four eastbound lanes will be shifted onto the new span later this fall making way for demolition of the old bridge and advancing construction on the adjacent new span.
Tolls are only charged one-way for eastbound drivers and is currently $5. Governor Cuomo said tolls will remain the same until 2020.
“The new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is much more than a magnificent, cutting-edge structure, it is a symbol for this state and this nation. The opening of this new span shows the world that we have our energy and our boldness back, that we will continue to accomplish greats things, and that we are building bigger and better than we have in decades,” Governor Cuomo said. “Excelsior reminds us that the motto of this state says reach even higher, and we’re not only building a new bridge with this in mind – we are building a new state and a stronger economy. This historic project is providing quality jobs, hope and opportunity to both residents and visitors of this state, and I look forward to future generations of New Yorkers crossing the Hudson River on this new bridge for the next 100 years.”
“Fluor is pleased to deliver the first span to New York commuters who use this vital crossing for daily commerce,” said Hans Dekker, president of Fluor’s infrastructure business line. “We are proud of the Fluor-led joint venture team for advancing this landmark megaproject and look forward to building on this milestone to complete the second span next year.”
The New York State Thruway Authority, in partnership with Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC., is replacing the existing bridge with a new 3.1-mile state-of-the-art, twin-span, cable-stayed bridge crossing the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties. The cable-stayed main span is supported by eight 419-foot towers, which stand at five-degree angles and feature a sleek, chamfered design. The iconic towers support 192 stay cables, which are made up of roughly 4,900 miles of steel strands.
The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is one of the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States and will be the largest bridge in New York State history. Construction began in late 2013 and is expected to be complete in 2018. The bridge is expected to cost over $4 billion when completed.
“After years of hard work by thousands of dedicated people, we are proud to have traffic on the new bridge for the first time,” said Terry Towle, senior vice president of Fluor’s infrastructure business line and president of Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC. “In addition to maintaining one of the best safety records in the industry, our team has consistently met tight deadlines under extremely challenging conditions. Together we are building an iconic bridge that will serve this community for generations.”
The second span is scheduled to be completed next year. After completion, all four eastbound lanes of traffic will be shifted to the second span. In the final configuration, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will carry eight general traffic lanes (four each on the westbound and eastbound spans), breakdown/emergency lanes, space for future bus rapid transit and commuter rail, and an advanced traffic monitoring system.
Governor Cuomo drove on the new bridge span in a 1955 Corvette with Armando “Chick” Galella, who drove the same model year Corvette as part of the inaugural procession that crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge on December 15, 1955. The Sleepy Hollow resident is a veteran and Bronze Star recipient who survived the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.