BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Suffern – The New NY Bridge group held an event on April 24 to inform local businesses about opportunities which will open with the rebuild of the Tappan Zee Bridge and connect them to larger contractors associated with the project.
The meeting featured a panel of representatives from the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Thruway Authority, Tappan Zee Constructors and the Rockland Business Association. Hosting the event was special advisor to the governor Brian Conybeare.
According to Conybeare, business opportunities continue to become available and are still plentiful. At the time of the most recent tally, about 90% of the procurement packages prepared by Tappan Zee Constructors will become available in the coming months and additional opportunities outside TZC are expected to emerge as well.
“We expect an economic ripple effect across Rockland, Westchester, the Hudson valley, and even across the entire state as this Tappan Zee replacement project gets off the ground,” Conybeare explained.
Tappan Zee Constructors representative Carla Julian explained opportunities through Tappan Zee Constructors would emerge largely through subcontracting through larger firms which include Traylor Brothers, American Bridge, Fluor, Granite Construction, HDR and Buckland & Taylor, URS, and GZA GeoEnvironmental, among others.
According to Julian, Tappan Zee Constructors is currently in the process of completing the bridge’s final design and is expected to finish their work in about a year. Hence, opportunities still exist in not only anticipated areas of management, finance, construction, skilled trades, human resources and information technology, but also ongoing engineering and architectural work.
“There are still design and engineering opportunities available,” Julian explained.
Prospective firms can apply for subcontracting agreements at tappanzeeconstructors.com. Firms will be screened through a prequalification process based on security, financial, and other standards before being offered a prequalification notice and beginning the bidding process.
Karen Coleman of the Department of Labor elaborated on DOL services, which she referred to as contractors’ “portal” to opportunities with Tappan Zee Constructors. Among the services offered by the DOL are recruitment services for employers, hiring incentives and technical assistance.
In addition, the bridge project will have Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification, a requirement for all federally-funded projects. According to Larry Norville of the Thruway Authority, the goal of the DBE Certifications is to “level the playing field” by ensuring non-discrimination in subcontracting while developing targeted firms for future business ventures.
“Some of you as DBEs may find that you might be ‘graduating’ if you find a large enough job,” Norville said.
The project is expected to positively impact county finances as well. Rockland Business Association president Al Samuels explained that sales tax revenue is expected to jump due to sale of trucks and will be a “tremendous benefit” to the county.
Bridge construction was approved in January of 2013 with a notice to proceed. No official groundbreaking for the bridge has been announced, but barges began to perform pre-construction in late March.