Iconic New York bridge opens to traffic

The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in New York.

A new landmark bridge, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in New York, has just been inaugurated, ready to serve an anticipated 140,000 motorists per day.  

The bridge, which opened on time and on budget, is one of the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States. 

Don Bergman, COWI's vice president of major projects in North America and the engineer-of-record for the new cable-stayed span, said: “This is a huge milestone, not just for the project team, but for COWI overall. As a company we take great pride in our contribution to the development of innovative infrastructure solutions to connect sustainable communities.

“Our experience in design-build delivery was a very real asset on this complex project. Our expertise and innovation in concrete durability and service life design has resulted in a structure we expect to stand the test of time. I am very proud of our team and their work on this landmark project.”

The project’s design-build delivery method saved 18 months over the original state and federal project estimates. The $3.98bn, 5 km (3.1 mile) long, twin-span cable-stayed bridge will serve 140,000 vehicles each day between Rockland and Westchester counties. It has eight traffic lanes, four breakdown/emergency lanes, a bike and pedestrian path, and dedicated bus lanes, all separated on east and west bound structures supported on common foundations. It was also designed to accommodate mass-transit rail loading in the future. 

The bridge replaces the former Tappan Zee Bridge which opened in 1955, crossing the Hudson River approximately 40km (25 miles) upstream of New York City and providing a vital artery for daily commuters and businesses. However, the bridge was carrying far more traffic than it was designed for; timber pile foundations were deteriorating, and maintenance and rehabilitation costs were escalating. The structure had become functionally obsolete and a sustainable, durable, safe and cost-effective replacement was critically important to keep traffic moving.

The design-build team of Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC., was comprised of a consortium of design, engineering, and construction firms, including Fluor, American Bridge, Granite Construction, Traylor Bros., HDR, COWI, URS, and GZA.

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