BY JANIE ROSMAN
Another piece of the area’s history disappeared last Friday when Casabella Contracting of NY, Inc., began demolishing the former state police barracks in Tarrytown.
Company President Marcela Pignataro said the certified Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) and first tier contractor for Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) has been working on the bridge project since June.
“Today is a step in what will be a very busy construction season for us,” NYS Thruway Authority Construction Compliance Engineer Tom McGuinness explained as a hydraulic excavator began removing part of the roof.
The 18,000-foot building was vacated last year when the state police and Tappan Zee Bridge maintenance crews — both based at 333 S. Broadway since the bridge was built in the 1950s — moved to 160 N. Route 303 in West Nyack, Zone 1 headquarters for New Rochelle, Newburgh and now Tarrytown barracks.
Their new albeit temporary location — a 42,000-foot empty warehouse — was once an active printing plant for the Journal News.
The maintenance facility, about 90 percent relocated, still supports a few maintenance operations and was separated from the barracks; the gap created was sealed the prior day. Once the relocation is finished the rest of the building will be demolished.
The site will be rebuilt as a visitor and greeting area once the project is completed. A new maintenance facility will be built north of the site, and Troop T will be relocated to a new building on the south side of Thruway.
McGuinness said this area north of the toll plaza “was identified earlier in our Environmental Impact Statement as the location that would cause the least impact to the surrounding communities.” Ramp E, closed March 10, 2014, is also being used for staging construction.
Water that sprayed prior to each piece of roof removal was part of the dust-control plan and to minimize impacts. McGuinness indicated two cranes pointing in the distance.
“That’s where the abutment for the north bridge is being constructed,” he said. “If you imagine northbound traffic passing to my left here going out toward that backhoe, this is where the highway of the bridge will be situated.”
TZC is installing foundations for a temporary toll gantry near Exit 10 in South Nyack (prep began in September) that will be removed when the bridge and toll plaza open. Talks are underway for a home resident discount where the electronic system recognizes drivers by their Westchester or Rockland addresses and adjusts their fees accordingly.
The movable barrier that adds an eastbound lane in the mornings and a westbound lane in the evenings will be retired in late 2016 or early 2017, when traffic in both directions shifts off the old bridge onto the new northern span with a divider for safety.
The plan is to move west/northbound traffic to the new span in December, and two months later, in February 2017, east/southbound traffic will also move to the new span.
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Steel, concrete and wood from the demolished barracks were separated. “We try to recycle as much as possible,” Pignataro said.
Before the maintenance facility can be taken down, she said, the other contractors — electricians, asbestos removal, etc. — have to come in and do what they need to do. “We all work together as a team.”