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New York State Thruway Authority

Tappan Zee Bridge Deck Replacement Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Project Scope

Schedule

Cost

Construction Impacts

Safety

Bridge Deck

Information

Environmental Review

Project Scope

Which parts of the deck have been replaced? What parts of the deck are slated for replacement under the May 2010-awarded contract?

The May 2010-awarded deck replacement project, the second contract to be awarded since August 2006, will replace approximately 28 percent of the total concrete deck area on the Tappan Zee Bridge. When completed, approximately 96 percent of the original deck will have been replaced since the Bridge opened in 1955.

Has the redecking effort widened the bridge or added new capacity?

The redecking effort has not, nor will it, add any additional travel lanes or increase the capacity of the bridge.

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Schedule

When did the redecking start and when will it finish?

While work began off-site much earlier, the Authority began physical work on the bridge on September 7, 2007.  It is anticipated that the overall redecking effort will be completed in the Winter of 2012.

During what hours will construction take place?

The majority of the redecking work will be continue to be completed during off-peak, overnight shifts, generally from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Is work routinely scheduled during weekends and holidays?

Work has been primarily conducted from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday. As permitted by the Authority, work has taken place during some weekends from 9 p.m. on Saturday to 8 a.m. on Sunday.  The Authority has used historical traffic figures for each day and season to determine which lane closures were appropriate for different times on different days of the week.

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Cost

Has the redecking work accounted for the largest maintenance expenditure in the history of the bridge?

Yes, the redecking effort has been the largest maintenance expense that the Authority has undertaken for the Tappan Zee Bridge.

How does the Authority pay for the redecking effort and construction in general?

The redecking contracts have been programmed in the Authority’s on-going multi-year Capital Plan; the effort is funded with toll revenue. 

The Authority’s primary source of revenue comes from tolls.  The Authority receives no State funding and receives very little Federal funding.

Through toll revenue, the Authority manages 2,818 lane miles of highway and more than 800 bridges. More than 246.7 million trips were taken on the Thruway in 2009, representing more than 8.1 billion miles traveled. As such, it is imperative that the Authority’s highways and bridge assets remain in good condition and that there is a proper expenditure of resources to keep the highway free of debris, potholes, and snow and ice, to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people.

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Construction Impacts

Typically, how many lanes are closed during construction?

Generally, five lanes are closed during the overnight hours.

Will noise be a problem?

The Authority has tried to minimize noise impacts by prefabricating the new deck panels off-site.  To minimize and alleviate impacts, the Authority works with the Contractor to ensure that work is completed as quickly as possible.

Has the Authority used this prefabricated construction technique before?

In addition to the work completed in 2007-2010, the Authority successfully used prefabricated materials for work on the causeway spans in 1996 and 1997, and the east deck truss in 1998 - 2001.  The Authority will use prefabricated materials for the redecking effort slated to begin in late Summer of 2011, as well. 

Has the redecking effort and associated construction had an impact on the river or commercial shipping?

Throughout this initiative, the Authority has worked, and will continue to work, closely with the U.S. Coast Guard.

How are materials delivered and where does the construction staging occur?

Materials were trucked in at night and some short-term staging occurred at Interchange 15 A (Sloatsburg tandem area) and Interchange 14 (Spring Valley).  Interchange 10 (Nyack) was also used as a northbound staging area.

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Safety

Is the bridge safe?

Absolutely the Tappan Zee Bridge is safe.  The New York State Thruway Authority follows a very stringent and thorough Bridge Inspection Program, as mandated by current Federal and State guidelines, and will continue to do so.   Every two years, the Tappan Zee Bridge undergoes an inspection.  In addition, interim inspections are conducted on the Tappan Zee Bridge to ensure that the bridge is maintained and operated safely and efficiently.

What precautions does the Authority proactively take to ensure the safety of motorists using the bridge?

The Authority has always taken whatever steps are necessary to ensure the safety of all motorists. The deck replacement project has taken place primarily overnight, when the volume of traffic is lower.

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Bridge Deck

How long will the new deck last?

The new deck is expected to have a service life between 40 and 50 years.

How does the current drainage system differ from the old (pre-2007)?
As part of the original design, the pre-2007 deck had an open drainage system that allowed water to flow over the structural steel.  The current drainage system has been designed to force the water flow away from the structural steel.

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Information

How has the Authority notified people about the project?

Throughout the redecking effort the Authority has utilized the following methods to keep the public informed:

  • The project Website has been updated frequently (www.thruway.ny.gov). 
  • Information has been broadcast via Variable Message Signs (VMS) along the highway and by Highway Advisory Radio, 530 AM in the Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor, as well as 1610 AM in the Newburgh area.
  • Project updates, in addition to weekly construction information, have been sent to the media and other interested parties. 
  • The Authority has used the TRANSalert system to provide subscribers with unscheduled delays and traffic information.   To sign up for the free email and text-messages visit www.thruway.ny.gov/tas.
  • For further information go to the Authority's contact us page.

What is the Diversion Plan?

In cooperation with the local authorities, the Thruway Authority developed a Diversion Plan for prolonged incidents requiring all travel lanes to be closed.  The Plan lists the alternate routes that can be used and details how local authorities can assist if Tappan Zee Bridge traffic needs to be diverted to the George Washington, Newburgh-Beacon, or Bear Mountain bridges. 

In the past, when there has been an incident on the bridge, traffic has been diverted as far back as the Palisades. How has the Diversion Plan helped motorists?

For prolonged delays, southbound motorists would have been diverted onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway, but commercial vehicles would have been diverted onto I-287 southbound at Interchange 15, except for local deliveries.  The Variable Message Signs (VMS) were activated north of Newburgh so that motorists could choose to take the Newburgh Beacon Bridge, if they so desired.  The Authority also activated VMS on Route 17 eastbound.

Similarly, northbound motorists would have had the opportunity to seek alternate routes; the Authority placed VMS at strategic locations.

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Environmental Review

Was this project part of the New NY Bridge Project?

The deck replacement effort has been part of the Authority’s ongoing responsibility to maintain and operate the Tappan Zee Bridge. For more information about the New NY Bridge, please visit www.newnybridge.com.. Leaving NYS Thruway Authority's Website 

If there’s a chance you’ll need to build a new bridge, why do all of this work now?

The deck replacement effort has been deemed a necessary interim measure to ensure safe, reliable service to the traveling public. Whatever the outcome of the Replacement Bridge Project, implementation of the preferred alternative will occur at a point in time beyond where the safe and reliable service of the existing deck can be maintained.

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