Westbound span nearing completion; will open sometime this year

BY JANIE ROSMAN

Science and technology teacher Jacob Tanenbaum speaks to students prior to a presentation at Cottage Lane Elementary School in Blauvelt/Credit NYSTA

Sunny weather has been drawing visitors to Nyack’s Memorial Park, where Holly Desher and a friend were watching the I Lift NY, stationed near the Rockland shoreline, through a high-powered lens.

Last month the super crane resumed setting structural steel on the eastbound span utilizing a different process. Assemblies lifted from the northern side of the westbound were moved to a floating barge between the two new spans and then fitted across the eastbound span’s concrete piers.

Aerial view of the new bridge’s westbound span stay cables/Credit NYSTA

“It’s exciting to see, especially after my son’s teacher talked about it in the classroom,” Desher, who lives in New Jersey, said. Kids are fascinated by giant crane that recently connected the westbound main span with the Westchester and Rockland approaches.

Although it’s unclear when the westbound span will open, the full bridge “will have an immediate positive impact when it opens to traffic next year while meeting the needs of Hudson Valley residents for future generations,” spokesperson Khurram Saeed noted.

It’s getting closer. Crews are installing anti-climb tensile mesh fencing that will line both sides of both spans and the walking/bicycle path; steel mesh safety netting will be below each of the six belvederes.

Crews anchoring a stay cable to the roadway/Credit NYSTA

During late February, some residents glimpsed the aesthetic LED (light emitting diodes) hour-long system test that covered more than 20 piers on the westbound Rockland with bright colors.

When fully installed, the 2,700 color lights and 500 white lights from Philips Lighting, the same company that brightens Madison Square Garden, will also illuminate the eight iconic towers and stay cables. With a predicted 100,000-hour lifespan (three times that of conventional lamps), the lights will use roughly 75 percent less energy.

Precast concrete panels atop structural steel girders/Credit NYSTA

To date, all 96 stay cables — ranging from 190 to 623 feet long — for the westbound span and one-third (32) for the eastbound span are attached to their respective towers and tensioned to structural steel. More than 120 girder assemblies have been installed on both spans.

Motorists might be able to glimpse the rebar outlines and concrete forms that will become the new 26,000 square-foot maintenance facility on the northern side of the Westchester landing. New York State Police Troop T, temporarily located in West Nyack, will have a new building on the landing’s southern side.

Bucket trucks used to install the LED system/NYSTA

Ongoing work includes installing concrete noise barrier panels along the northbound Thruway in South Nyack this week and installing transparent acrylite noise barriers on the Rockland approach on the soon-to-open westbound span and installing overhead gantries with electronic signage about lane use, exits and other helpful information.

Lesson plans in Jacob Tanenbaum’s science and engineering classes at Cottage Lane Elementary School in Blauvelt often correlate to the bridge project. One week before last December’s tower-topping ceremony, the educational outreach team spoke with fifth graders at school and brought samples of recently-installed stay cables and rebar.

Super crane taking a break from work near Rockland shoreline/Credit Janie Rosman

“This year we have a great opportunity to share the rising towers,” Public Outreach Coordinator Andy O’Rourke said of the 3D video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSGBR3t5QOM) that explains their computer engineering. “It’s a great kickoff point for educators (and) what they call a ‘teachable moment.’”

“That’s a fantastic project to watch, and now we’re at the point where the kids are riveted,” Jacob Tanenbaum noted. “You’ve got one of the world’s largest water-based cranes. What could be better?”

Spoiler alert: watch for the river to glow: crews will soon begin testing lights on the westbound span as poles with light heads have been installed.

Tanenbaum’s students were intrigued by the West Point Bridge Designer 2016 contest, in which they are required to design an efficient and cost-effective bridge across a river

“The idea is that each piece they add, each action they take, costs money, for example, adding cables to a bridge or building a pier.” The kids first decide on its structure, then fill it in and test it. “Then I test to make sure they’re solid, and the winners get prizes.”

Local schools are invited to enter another challenge: the annual falcon naming contest. Mama peregrine, one of two birds living in the current bridge’s nest, hatched two eggs (there may be more), and the eyases (chicks) need names. Contest deadline is April 28. For details, visit http://www.newnybridge.com/.

Traffic alert: Southbound/eastbound traffic lanes near Exit 10 shifted approximately 30 feet south last week (April 12) so crews can complete drainage work and prepare for future work in this area. The alignment will remain in place through December.