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ASCE 2015 Convention to Feature Tour of Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Work

Posted on August 27, 2015


This year’s ASCE 2015 Convention, October 10 –14 in New York City, will include a technical tour of construction on the $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, spanning the Hudson River some 16 miles north of Manhattan.

Attendees will be able to see the Left Coast Lifter, a massive, world-renowned barge crane. “Tappan Zee is the largest design-build bridge project in the country today,” said K.N. “Guna” Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, Vice President at AECOM and a member of the ASCE Convention Advisory Council. Its cable-stay design “has a number of unique features to it. To a civil engineer, not everybody gets to see a mega-bridge like the Tappan Zee.”

The original Tappan Zee Bridge opened in 1955, spanning the Hudson River between South Nyack and Tarrytown, just before Interstate 87 veers south toward Manhattan. Built while the nation demanded raw materials for the Korean War, the bridge was designed with a maximum 50-year lifespan, yet in its 60th year of operation, Tappan Zee carries an estimated 138,000 vehicles per day, well over its anticipated capacity.

About five years ago, mounting safety concerns helped expedite design plans for a replacement, settling on a cable-stay dual-span design, and construction began in 2013. Once complete in 2018, the new Tappan Zee will be the world’s widest bridge. For all the buzz about the bridge, it may be the equipment used in its construction that is garnering the most attention among devotees. The Left Coast Lifter, also known as I Lift NY, is one of the world’s largest floating cranes. It can haul into place giant segments of new bridge, some weighing as much as 1,000 tons, using its 328-foot boom. “You can see it in action lifting pieces of the bridge into place on a weekly basis,” Gunalan said. 

The crane was designed and used in construction of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge east span replacement before it was shipped down and through the Panama Canal, then up to the Hudson River. The ASCE Tappan Zee Bridge technical tour is Saturday, October 10. Attendees will start in Manhattan and travel by boat to the construction site. The tour – which will be worth three PDHs – is available only to ASCE 2015 Convention registrants and space is limited. The Convention’s new integrated, multidisciplinary format is built around engaging topics, including the state of the industry and the profession, multidisciplinary technical sessions, ASCE’s strategic issues and public policy, and civil engineering history and heritage. Other available technical tours include the Kosciuszko Bridge and New York Highline. Learn more about the Tappan Zee Bridge technical tour and others around New York City, and register for the ASCE 2015 Convention.