BY MICHAEL RICONDA
NEW CITY – In the second of two annual meetings with Rockland and Westchester residents, New NY Bridge project representatives provided the latest information on the ongoing construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge at Nyack High School on March 27.
According to Special Advisor Brian Conybeare, the current focus of construction is on permanent pile installation and the construction of trestles, retaining walls and permanent noise barriers. Pile driving is already in progress and temporary work trestles have been set up for equipment, vehicles and materials.
Pile driving has already become a concern among residents of area such as Piermont and South Nyack, where pile driving has been audible. Conybeare assured residents that measures such as vibratory pile installation, bubble curtains and noise reduction shrouds will limit some of the disruption.
“There are going to be impacts from the construction and we’re trying to reduce the impacts from the noise,” Conybeare said.
Dredging was a major component of the bridge construction, but with the removal of 800,000 cubic yards of material, it has been largely completed between August and November of 2013. Additionally, a “super crane” announced for the construction is currently in New York Harbor and will be at the construction site between April and May.
Dredging has raised questions among residents about the impact of sediment in Piermont Bay. According to environmental compliance manager and panelist John Ducshang, a study is ongoing and will likely be completed by January, but it does not appear sediments are collecting in the bay.
As construction continues, new maritime regulations were also announced stipulating a regulated navigation area 500 yards north and south of the bridge. The main channel will remain open unless otherwise specified with a slow, no-wake zone and GPS tracking on Tappan Zee Constructors vessels.
Environmental concerns and safeguards were also discussed. About a dozen metered stations have been set up to track particulate matter and noise. Monitoring is also ongoing to ensure the safety of endangered Atlantic sturgeon populations.
Work is well-underway, but planning and organizing is still underway. TZC commitments of $1.2 billion have been made to date, with 692 subcontractors holding deals. Though the construction is well-underway, only 80 percent of the build design has been completed and 65 percennt of subcontractor awards are still available.
“They’re literally still designing some aspects of this bridge,” Conybeare said.
Among the items still under design are landscaping, architecture, belvederes, bus rapid transit which recommended by the Mass Transit Task Force and other aesthetic and auxiliary items. The BRT system is expected to be completed by the time the bridge opens.