"Left Coast Lifter": See The World's Largest Floating Crane Building The $3.9 Billion Tappan Zee Bridge

Tyler Durden's picture

It has taken the US a while to realize that the best way centrally-planned economies "grow" (think China) is by misallocating taxpayer funds for capex projects: be it replacing windows (of course), roads, highways, building brand new ghost cities, or in this case bridges.

As the newnybridge.com website explains, the replacement for the Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson river, built by Tappan Zee Constructors, or TZC, LLC, has begun construction. By way of background, TZC, LLC is "a consortium of some of the world's best-known and most highly-regarded design, engineering and construction firms, including Fluor, American Bridge, Granite, and Traylor Bros., along with key design firms HDR, Buckland & Taylor, URS, and GZA. TZC is working closely on the project with a team of employees from the New York State Thruway Authority and the State Department of Transportation."


The New NY Bridge will mean less congestion for motorists, with eight traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, and state-of-the-art traffic monitoring systems, as well as a dedicated commuter bus lane from the day it opens. Designed and constructed to be mass-transit-ready, the new crossing will be able to accommodate bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail. The bridge will also include a bike and pedestrian path.


Plans for a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee were first discussed in 1999, and over the next 11 years $88 million in taxpayer dollars was spent, 430 meetings were held, 150 concepts were consider – but the project did not move forward.


Under Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership and with the support of President Barack Obama and the federal government, the project has moved from dysfunction to construction. Since October, 2011, new design-build legislation was enacted, concurrent environmental review and procurement processes were completed, a project labor agreement was negotiated with construction unions, and pre-construction activities commenced – all with an unprecedented level of transparency and community involvement.


Extensive measures will be in place throughout the duration of the project to protect the environment and to monitor the impact of construction on surrounding communities.


The total cost of the New NY Bridge project is $3.9 billion, far less than initially expected. The design-build contract for the bridge will help keep the project on-budget and on-time, because financial risk associated with most cost overruns or schedule delays lies with the contractor, rather than toll payers or taxpayers.


But the most important entity by far in the construction of the replacement bridge is what is known as the "Left Coast Lifter", or what is said to be the world's largest floating crane. Here, courtesy of Bloomberg, is a look at the monster crane, and it's journey to New York.

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kurt's picture

I no see video

Antifaschistische's picture

beautiful....let's use taxpayer money, to make it easier for people to live 50 miles away from where they work.  That way, they can consume more BTU's every day.   These projects are the most anti-GREEN thing we could do.   Just like the 24+ lanes of I10 Houston so people can live out where they can afford more square footage and waste gas getting to and from work.  Brilliant government plans.

Some day...some event will happen and gas prices will double.  American central planning that incentivizes suburban sprawl will then come back to haunt us.

SafelyGraze's picture

one of the biggest challenges in designing and constructing the bridge is the pre-positioning of the built-in surveillance/interdiction apparatus throughout the supporting members ("citizen, this vehicle is not approved for ingress/egress for your stated purpose; please remain in the vehicle while it is guided to the investigation lane up ahead")


and also the pre-positioning of the thermites


and also the market-makering of the bridge-collapse futures swap mechanisms

blythe "what? you thought I had stopped working?"


James_Cole's picture

That crane is a thing of beauty.

Stackers's picture

That 1,800 ton crane does not even make the top 10 list which starts at 2,000 tons and goes to 10,000+ tons


In the world of barge mount shear leg derrick cranes it's small to medium sized.

SafelyGraze's picture

but in the World Series of Giant Cranes (limited to those that are in the US), the 1800 tonner is a total dominator

Stackers's picture

1000-2000 ton shear leg barge cranes are a dime a dozen on the Gulf Coast doing offshore oil rig service work. They are impressive to be around, no doubt.

CrazyCooter's picture

Still not big enough to "lift" Pelosi's face.



Occident Mortal's picture

That silly little piece of shit is NOT the worlds largest floating crane.

It's not even close...

Behold the Thialf... http://hmc.heerema.com/content/fleet/thialf/

Capable of lifting 14,200 tonnes

It's 20 stories high... To the fucking deck.

Sleeping quarters for 736 men.

GRT 136,000 tonnes.

The helideck can take a Chinook 234.

Which completely dwarves the pathetic 1,670 tonne capacity of the (very small by comparison) "Left Cost Lifter"

The two main cranes on the Thialf can lift 7,800 tonnes each. So the Thialf could actually lift 2 "Left Coast Lifters" clean out of the water simultaneously.

Sack the researcher.

bilejones's picture

It's a Bloomburgler, what do you expect?

old naughty's picture

not the largest...ok, got that.

So ships "stacking", cars "stuffing", cranes "xpanding", planes "remoting"... ... ... ... ...what do these tell you, other than supply-demand thingy? 

And lest we 4get houses "yet2b occupying" !

Phasing outs?

Who (eh, what) are phasing in?

MedTechEntrepreneur's picture

They are planning on scraping the Saratoga aircraft carrier (for a penny).  Sounds like someone better slap a crane on it so WE can be numba 1 again!

CrazyCooter's picture

You know, it is funny who knows what shit on ZH. Thanks for that wiki. Fascinating stuff!



Mentaliusanything's picture

Its a Floating crane not a Deep Sea semi submersible.

The Largest Floating Mono Hull goes to........... CHINA.

 The "Lan Jing" @7500T lift cap.owned by The China Offshore Oil Corporation.

This one does not make the List

Stuck on Zero's picture

Antifaschistische:  It's a sad fact that urban centers use more energy per person than suburban and rural communities.  Urban environments are the greatest resource pigs on the planet.  Elevators, 24 hour lights, HVAC, and infinite traffic jams make them giant heat islands visible from the moon.  How much does it cost to drop in a kilometer of new sewer pipe in the burbs?  About $50/ft.  How much in Manhattan?  About $10,000 a foot.  Only fascist government want all their people herded into high-rise prisons woned by the government.


lotsoffun's picture

agreed.  we were all taught and programmed to travel far.  few people can do basic math or sit still long enough to think it through, even if they can do the math.  erase 100 miles of car driven commuting a day.  think about the cost - the cost of car, fuel, tolls, care insurance, anguish, exposure to horrible accidents and weather.  take a 5 mile commute and work for less.

exxon, ford, geico and many more don't like that.  they keep selling you misery.

but - the big guys should look at the bright side.  2 hours less commuting, 2 hours more eating home delivered junk pizza and watching lebron james pound his chest like a gorilla!!!  come on MIC and big industry.  give us a break.  we are on your side.  we will promise to continue to spend much more money than we can ever make on things that we don't need.  but - we want more time on the couch and less on the road.

+ for couch makers.


TuPhat's picture

If you want to live close to Houston that's your life.  For many people living away from the city and driving to work is the only reasonable option.  The fault lies with large corporations that want to cluster together in large crime ridden cities.

tip e. canoe's picture

The fault actually lies in the people that choose to earn a living by working for those corps and the people who choose to give money to those corps for some supposed good and/or service.

Without those 2 groups of people, those corps would be corpses.

NoDebt's picture

1.  When you build a new bridge where there wasn't one before (assuming you need one there in the first place) you get REAL gains to the economy.

2.  Build a bridge to nowhere you get NO gains to the economy.  Just a transfer of money- however much it cost to build the bridge (plus bribes, kick-backs and pay-offs).  And the lost opportunity cost of what PRODUCTIVE purpose that money COULD have been spent on.  Not just zero-sum, worse than zero sum.

3.  Replace and older bridge with a newer bridge and you get.... again, nothing since you're just catching up on deferred maintenance.  You could argue the new bridge is biggger and carries more traffic.  Fine, if true.  But in just pure replacement terms an old bridge carries 100% of the traffic it was designed to carry right up until it collpases.

So, which of the above 3 scenarios sound most like what we're doing here?  Rebuilding crumbling old infrastructure sounds great on the boob tube, but if all you're really doing is catching up on deferred maintenance you're just finally realizing a cost that was actually incurred over a period of many years.  And, of course, you get little or no improvement in the broader economy to pay for it.

ShrNfr's picture

They have been soaking folks who go across that bridge for as long as it has been open. In theory, they should have the money to replace it. It was probably put in a lock box. You know the ones that say you are out of lock if you ever need funds from them. [see FICA = Fucking Individuals in Corrupt America]

Headbanger's picture

The truth is more like the current Tappan Zee Bridge has been way overloaded for decades and no amount of maintenance will save it for much longer.

So better build a new one before the old bridge fails.

But weren't we all supposed to be driving flying cars by now that don't need bridges?

ParkAveFlasher's picture

What I can't figure out is the usefulness of light rail or commuter rail.  There are direct lines running north to south to connect Westchester and the Hudson Valley on the eastern shore to 42nd Street while there is no point in transversing the Hudson River at that point.  Unless, of course, the plan is to build a commuter rail line on the western shore and drop it through Tappan Zee, basically opening up the western shore to suburbification.

potato's picture

I wonder why the timeline also mentions the demolition of the old bridge.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

I have a degree in Transportation Engineering (bfd).  Used to work on long term 20-30 year projects like this. They are all self full filling prophecies, based on current linear trends.  

Hey, this is reality, you want to forecast increased cost of energy and inflation into the equation, then you are nutz.

The big prob is, there is no way to accurately forecast  future trends given unknown/unanticipated  technological/demographic changes.

On massive infrastructure, that means cheap energy, cheap financing. Change any of those two over the life of the project and all bets are off.

In the end, political expediency always rules, ie how far down the road can the payment be kicked and the incumbents be assured of re-election.

In the USSA,  this has resulted in sprawl. As the pendulum swings back, we get a push for Agenda 21…

cynicalskeptic's picture

The Tappan Zee was built during the Korean War when costs were going up and steel was hard to get.  It was designed to last 50 years and is PAST it's design life.  It's been patched and repatched.  At times you could see the Hudson THROUGH holes in the road deck.   Compare that to the Brooklyn Bridge which has been standing for HOW LONG?  

Building infrastructure on the cheap with a limited EXPECTED LIFE is the real problem - deferring costs and problems and in the long run insuring FAR HIGHER total costs. 

It's better to spend a little more up front on GOOD materials and a better design but politicians always look for easy ways to claim they'cut costs'.

Labor costs will not usually be much more in building a BETTER and longer lasting design and labor is a larger cost component than materials for most projects.

Labor and material costs more than DOUBLE when you have to REPLACE something entirely.

Mentaliusanything's picture

You can build a Tunnel of 6 lanes 5,000 m long for 1.5 Billion. Takes a tunnel boring machine in hard rock 75 weeks. Tolls $4.00.

3.9 Billion is an overspend, understated and not the most efficient use of funds. However it will be fun to watch them milk this for all its got.

 Tolls Fuck tolls, Just print the money

tip e. canoe's picture

"Compare that to the Brooklyn Bridge which has been standing for HOW LONG? "

exactly, BB being built even before humans had even dreamt of the words petroleum and automobile. and still it stands to this day, even with the increased loads that it wasn't even designed for.

i'd buy that bridge any day of the week and sell swaps in TZ to finance it.

slight tangent: the story of Emily Roebling as project manager on that bridge is pretty amazing actually. talk about learning on the job.

Clycntct's picture

Clking around in space yeilds the same result as kurt .

TheAnswerIs42's picture

Yeah, that's all we need.

A giant erection in the Hudson River.


Bangin7GramRocks's picture

What is the nickname for Christina Hendricks's bra.

I am Jobe's picture

All I want to know if if Dimon or Da Squid profiting from this? 

Bernanke'sDaddy's picture

Of course they will.


You'll hear about new bonds backed by tolls (BBTs) next month.


hopefully they'll bring in a juicy 2% yield (minus management fees, of course).

FreedomGuy's picture

"The total cost of the New NY Bridge project is $3.9 billion, far less than initially expected."

Yeeeeahhhhh! Let's wait and see what the price was when it is actually done. The Denver airport was supposed to be a paltry $2bill and was over 5 before it was done. Anyone remember the Big Dig in Boston?

You have to give the mafia, politicians and others time to locate weaknesses in the contracts that can be used to siphon off money in cost overruns and "unexpected" costs. They will gold plate that bridge before it is done.

chinoslims's picture

"NY Bridge project is $3.9 billion, far less than initially expected."

Gov't projects such as the F-35 and F-22 are always behind schedule and overbudget.  I wonder is inflation ever calculated in these projects or do they always assume material costs and labor will always be the same?

Asking gov't to make projections is asking a woman how many sexual partners they have had.  If they tell you 10, it really means 20.  If they tell you 20, it really means 40.   Do women even read this blog?

bwh1214's picture

Ok these are the kinds of stories that make me not trust zerohedge.  I've worked with the largest floating crane in the world, its called the SSCV Thialf, its has a lifting capacity of 14,200 tons, I've worked with the sister vessel the Balder as well, but she's smaller, still way way bigger then the left coast lifter with a capacity around 1,600 tons.  Siepem 7000 is another moster.  There are probably dozens if not over a hundred larger that this thing.  Point being when zerohedge has a story that I know about I find tons of holes.  How many holes are in the ones I don't know much about.

Tyler Durden's picture

Hence, as is stated in the post "what is said to be the world's largest floating crane", which is also what Bloomberg says.

We are hardly crane size experts, nor do we have any desire to be.

But to your point, we explicitly demand that readers not trust zero hedge - it is the reader's job to verify any information they are presented, be it here or elsewhere, and certainly never to take anything as gospel.

bwh1214's picture

Touché well said. Exactly the response I was looking for.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

It'll cost $5 billion in taxpayer funds to build and then you'll pay $15 one way. What a deal!

Offthebeach's picture

The bridge will come in under budget, but the approaches....yeah... that was a unforseen. ..oh, the Chinese steel, the corrosion, ahead faster requires higher...its in the courts..
Guadoung Steel and Fish Carp will be resposible......you'll see.

I Write Code's picture

But what if somebody in San Francisco now wants to lift something heavy?

cossack55's picture

Just suggest they consult the Richter Scale

bilejones's picture

Don't worry, shirts are being worn lighter.

Robinhood's picture

Let me guess, the left coast lifter is owned by Barack Obama's son.

kchrisc's picture

"Let's build a new bridge to replace the old bridge we used as a piggybank and neglected. We can funnel millions to our cronies and ourselves during construction and we can make the new bridge a bigger piggybank going forward."

junction's picture

Everything that can go wrong will go wrong with the new Tappan Zee Bridge.  They had better not demolish the old bridge once the new bridge is built.