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.