Steel Shots: Stretching Over the Hudson

The New NY Bridge’s structural steel stretches across the project site. (Photo: New York State Thruway Authority) 

The New NY Bridge project continues to move forward (and upward) in building the twin-span replacement for the 3-mi.-long Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.

To date, about 60,000 tons of structural steel have been installed. Ironworkers at the project’s Port of Coeymans facility in Coeymans, N.Y., have been connecting 12-ft-tall girders into massive assemblies. Each assembly is a structure in its own right, measuring hundreds of feet in length and weighing as much as 1,100 tons. After being connected, the assemblies make a 100-mi. journey downriver to reach the project site.

Scheduled to open in 2018, the bridge will use about 100,000 tons of domestically produced steel, which will support the road deck and infrastructure for bridge operations. High Steel Structures, Inc., and Hirschfeld Industries (both AISC/NSBA members and AISC certified fabricators) are furnishing the approach span steel, while Canam-Bridges (also an AISC/NSBA member and AISC certified fabricator) is fabricating the main span steel. If laid end to end, the new bridge’s girders would stretch for over 30 miles. 

An I Lift NY  super crane has done the heavy lifting as it’s the only machine on the project capable of raising the girder assemblies. Each lift was carefully planned and engineered well in advance of the operation. Operating engineers from Locals 825 and 137 contributed to the work, as did ironworkers from Local 40. The ironworkers scaled the project’s towering piers as the super crane lowered the assemblies into place, helping to connect the steel to the other bridge elements.

As of this spring, Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC) has successfully installed more than one third of the bridge’s structural steel, with more assemblies of girders in production. About 6,000 people have worked on the project.