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For Immediate Release: March 4, 2009

Thruway Authority Announces Tappan Zee Bridge Redecking Project to Resume Mid-April

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the deck replacement project on the Tappan Zee Bridge will resume beginning mid-April 2009, weather permitting. 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 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. At this time, over 97 percent of the deck panels in this contract have been installed.

Beginning mid-April, nightly lane closures will be in place in from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., weather permitting. Although this project is weather sensitive, it is anticipated the Redecking Project will be completed by late-August 2009. The Authority will issue a press release to provide advance notice to motorists when the start date of the project has been finalized.

“The Authority understands the concerns voiced by motorists and commuters last fall and has taken several measures to address those issues in moving forward with this important and necessary project,” said New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer. “It is the Authority’s intention that these measures will provide an un-interrupted commute for patrons. As always, the Authority will continue to closely monitor the progress of the work and quickly address any unforeseen circumstances that may result, as it is the Authority’s goal is to have this work completed as expeditiously and safely as possible.”

During this portion of the project, the Authority will be replacing 13 deteriorated joints across the bridge with new joints. All joint replacement operations require cutting an opening in the bridge deck. Numerous options were considered for bridging these openings, all of which required the use of roadway plates of one thickness or another. It is the consensus of the Authority’s engineers and their consultants that the most suitable method of spanning these openings is to utilize single steel plates of sufficient thickness that will safely carry the traffic loads across the openings.

The Authority’s contractor will be installing transition ramps of approximately 50 feet of asphalt leading up to the steel plates on the Tappan Zee Bridge. The transition ramps will cover the entire width of the bridge at each bridge joint location and will gradually thicken until the ramp is flush with the top of the roadway plate(s). It is anticipated the asphalt ramps will provide a smooth transition over the roadway plates thereby minimizing impacts to motorists. Additionally, the ramps are to encourage drivers to continue traveling at reasonable speeds.

The Authority will continue to issue updates as the work progresses to provide motorists with advanced notice of any scheduled lane closures and any potential or resulting impacts of the project.

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 www.nysthruway.gov/tas 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.

The Authority appreciates motorists’ patience as this critical project moves forward.

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