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For Immediate Release: September 19, 2008

Thruway Authority to Continue Deck Replacement Work on the Tappan Zee Bridge

The New York State Thruway Authority announced today that deck replacement work on the Tappan Zee Bridge will continue next week.  This project is part of the Authority’s on-going commitment to continue to fulfill its responsibility to maintain and operate the bridge by continuing to make the necessary investments to assure safe and efficient travel for the thousands of motorists that cross the bridge daily.

The deck replacement project will replace approximately 40 percent of the entire deck, focusing on the two right outside lanes in each direction from the Rockland County shore through the main span.

Beginning Monday September 22
The next phase of the project, beginning Monday, September 22, will necessitate the use of temporary traffic plates on the west deck truss spans, to allow work to proceed efficiently at night while allowing motorists to drive over the plates during the day.  The temporary traffic plates are necessary to facilitate work that will ensure the safety of the Authority’s customers and maintain the bridge.  The Authority is taking every measure possible to reduce any discomfort to motorists and to expedite the work.

During this phase of the deck replacement project, a thicker, one and one-half-inch plate over a three-eighths inch neoprene pad will be used.  These thicker plates are an essential safety element of this project, but may cause temporary discomfort for drivers. To minimize inconvenience to motorists, the Authority is taking several specific actions:

  • The plates on the west deck truss spans will be spaced 250-feet apart to make them less noticeable to the traveling public (previously they were located less than 37 1/2-feet apart).
  • Bolts with rounded heads will be used and will generally be located out of the wheel path of most vehicles.
  • Ramping plates will be used to bring vehicles gradually up to the level of the new plates.

The Authority is also taking a number of additional steps to keep customers informed during this phase of the work:

  • Speed limit signs are posted in advance to alert motorists of the recommended and approved speed limit for driving over the plates.  As always, motorists should remain in their lane while driving.
  • The Authority has posted a portable Dynamic Message Sign (DMS), near Interchange 11 southbound, instructing motorists to remain in their lanes. The large overhead permanent DMS at the approach to the bridge is also used to alert motorists to the plates when the sign is not required for information pertaining to other lane closures, incidents or emergency messages.  
  • The Authority is exploring the installation of additional temporary signs on the bridge itself to further alert the traveling public to the location and use of the plates.

For the safety of the public and construction workers, motorists are urged to proceed with caution and obey posted work-zone speed limits.  Work will proceed weather-permitting, and schedule updates will be announced as needed.

Traffic updates will be broadcast to motorists via Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) 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.

Motorists may also sign up to receive email and text message traffic updates from the Thruway Authority’s TRANSalert system.  Anyone may subscribe to the free service at by clicking on “Sign Up for TRANSalert emails.”

When complete, the new deck, along with related repairs to the superstructure, lighting, and rail will provide more reliable service, increase safety and add convenience for motorists using this vital east-west corridor. 

The Authority has implemented a number of measures to reduce the impact on motorists, preserve traffic flow, shorten the project duration, and reduce on-site noise levels.  Much of the work is being completed during off-peak, overnight shifts, generally from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and redecking materials are being manufactured off-site with delivery just in time for installation.

The three-mile Tappan Zee Bridge, located about 13 miles north of New York City, carries the New York State Thruway over the Hudson River, between Rockland and Westchester Counties. The structure serves as a lifeline between New York City and Upstate New York. The bridge carries over 140,000 vehicles every day, with volumes as high as 170,000 vehicles daily. When the bridge opened in 1955, it carried an average of 18,000 vehicles daily.


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