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Design-build plan approved by Thruway Board for new NY bridge to replace Tappan Zee delivers dramatic cost savings, less dredging and faster completion

ALBANY, N.Y. – The design-build proposal for the new New York Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee approved on Monday by the New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors will deliver the project at a far lower cost than initially estimated, Thruway Board Chairman Howard P. Milstein said.

The proposal approved on Monday was submitted by Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium that includes Fluor Enterprises, American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, and Traylor Bros.

"The unanimous approval of the proposal from Tappan Zee Constructors marks an important milestone in the project to build a new New York bridge to replace the Tappan Zee. The price proposal from Tappan Zee Constructors was at least 20 percent lower than other bidders, requires less dredging and can be completed faster than the other proposals," Milstein said. "Most importantly, the design-build process produced a savings of at least $1.5 billion compared to the amounts estimated by the Federal Highway Administration and our own original estimates.

"Governor Cuomo deserves tremendous credit for this success. It was the Governor who provided the leadership the project was lacking, brought a sense of urgency to the process and expressed a vision for how to move forward," Milstein added. "I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for his strong support and leadership. I would also like to commend and thank the many individuals at the Thruway Authority and our partners at other state and federal agencies who worked so hard to bring us to this historic moment."

The contract with Tappan Zee Constructors will now be formally reviewed by the State Comptroller and the Attorney General. Chairman Milstein noted that Thruway officials have over the past few months provided extensive information to the Comptroller's office regarding the procurement of the new bridge project, which represents the largest transportation design-build project to date in the United States and one of the largest construction contracts in New York State history.

The new New York Bridge will be transit-ready for all modes including bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail. Earlier this month, Chairman Milstein announced the establishment of a Mass Transit Task Force, which will work to identify short, medium and long-term transit solutions for the bridge and the I-287 corridor in Westchester and Rockland Counties including the bridge; develop funding strategies to implement and sustain transit operations; and create a corridor management plan to ensure a viable transit program. The task force, comprised of state and local officials and transit and planning experts, will meet for the first time later this week and will have one year to complete its work and make recommendations.

The new NY bridge features

  • Eight general traffic lanes plus emergency lanes and extra-wide shoulders for immediate express bus service when opened
  • A new toll plaza with at least three highway speed E-ZPass lanes (The current toll plaza includes only two 35mph lanes, as well as 5mph E-ZPass lanes)
  • Dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path on northern span
  • Safe scenic overlooks, with anti-climb fencing and security cameras to be monitored 24 hours a day
  • Strength and capacity provisions to accommodate various mass transit modes

Key project milestones

  • Tens of thousands of jobs will be created or sustained
  • Historic Project Labor Agreement will save $452 million
  • Design-build best value procurement and delivery method shifts risk of cost overruns and delays to contractor
  • Buy America provision ensures all steel will come from the United States
  • Environmental performance commitments include:
    • 24 hour video, noise, vibration and air-quality monitors posted in real time on our website www.NewNYBridge.com
    • Most equipment and supplies delivered by barges, not trucks
    • State-of-the-art controls to limit dust and emissions
    • Other owner costs estimated at $600-800 million for project management, oversight, contingency, financing costs and other expenditures

About the proposal

  • Lowest price: $3.142B
  • Shortest construction timeline: five years, two-and-a-half months
  • Will use their "Left Coast Lifter", one of the world's largest floating cranes, which cuts total construction time
  • Left Coast Lifter is able to lift 1,750 metric tons, 12 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. Use of Left Coast Lifter will also ease demolition of old bridge.
  • Mass transit ready for bus rapid transit on the span, or commuter rail or light rail between spans
  • Meets all environmental standards in FEIS
  • Quieter: proposal requires less pile driving and maximizes use of vibration technique
  • Least Dredging Required: 951,000 cubic yards
  • Lifespan: 100 years before major repairs would be needed

Timeline

  • Governor Pataki first announced plans to build a new bridge replacing the Tappan Zee in 1999. In the decade following that announcement, the state held 430 public meetings, explored 150 concepts and spent $88 million but never finalized a plan for a new bridge.
  • Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Cuomo has made the new bridge project a priority
  • October 2011 – Following request from Governor Cuomo, President Obama fast tracks the review process, while incorporating the past decades of study
  • December 2011 – Governor signs design-build legislation into law, cutting the bureaucratic process in half and having bidders selected on the basis of "best value", combining overall quality of technical, environmental, and bridge features with price
  • January 2012 – Draft Environmental Impact Statement published
  • July 2012 – Three bids submitted for new bridge contract
  • September 2012 – Federal agencies approve Final Environmental Impact Statement
  • September 2012 – Selection Review Team appointed to review three submitted bids: www.governor.ny.gov/press/09192012Tappan-Zee-Project
  • December 2012 – Preview of thee bridge proposal designs and prices presented to the public: www.newnybridge.com/thruwaybridgedesignpresentation.pdf
  • December 17, 2012 – Thruway Board makes final decision on bridge proposal
  • Early 2013 – Construction on new bridge to begin

 

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