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Current TZ Bridge 'Falls Short,' Costs Millions

Report: 10 more years of maintaining current span would run $1.3 billion

Since the proposed new Tappan Zee Bridge , talk of construction and cost have commandeered bridge discussion.

But on the sidelines remains a paramount topic and the reason for the $5.2 billion undertaking—the current span's deficiencies.

In an informational packet released after the federal government added the Tappan Zee to the construction fast-track, officials spotlight the crossing's shortcomings—and they're manifold.

"The existing Tappan Zee Bridge falls short of current engineering standards," the outline reads. "In addition, an extensive and costly maintenance and capital program has been required to keep the bridge’s structural elements in a state of good repair."

Between 2000 and 2010, the New York State Thruway Authority spent $500 million in bridge maintenance. To continue for another ten years would run about $1.3 billion, officials reported.

The bridge's failing were identified in full in the 1980s, and were swiftly followed by a comprehensive repair program that continues to this day. Columns, steel and other facets were swapped out for newer material. In 2007, construction crews upped the maintenance to match increased deterioration.

The span's weaknesses are particularly unsettling due to its classification as a "critical bridge," or route that must remain open are an earthquake or similar disaster to serve emergency vehicles. "The Tappan Zee Bridge lacks structural and operational redundancy to easily sustain extreme natural events such as hurricanes and earthquakes or man-made events such as fires or vessel collision," the report reads.

Currently, the bridge sees about 135,000 vehicles daily, and accommodated close to 45 million in 2010 alone.

Russ Woolley October 26, 2011 at 12:22 PM
I Would like to know why there is nothing in this article concerning the lack of mass transit which should be included with the construction of this bridge. In this present economy I would think today's cost to ensure proper flow of commuters in and out of the suburbs would be far less costly than sometime in the future! With the lack of present construction projects, and the cost of money I would think "now" is the right time to plan for those much needed services. Please, let's not make the same mistake as 50 + years ago. Haven't we learned?
Very well documented..if any politicans ever read this...I would like to offer a basic taxpayer ..driver over the bridge.. question...many os US many times have had trucks bearing down our Rear while we drive at the speed limits. passing us..at speeds not acceptable..SO WHY ARENT THE STATE TROOPERS ENFORCING THE SAFETY ON THE BRIDGE?PEOPLE HIGHER SPEEDS OF HEAVY TRUCKS HITTING ROAF IMPERFECTIONS CAUSE"MORE WEAR" LETS PUT A SPEED RESTRICTION ON ALL TRAILER TRUCKS ASAP!!!35 MILES PER HOUR..OR LIMIT THEM TO 8PM TO 6AM.PROTECT THE PEOPLE DRIVING CARS.!!!AND ANYONE WEIGHING TRUCKS IN NY STATE ANYMORE?LUNCH TIME IS OVER WHO EVER RUNS THE THRUWAY!!
Russ Wonderful idea..heres my thought how about more physical trains on the exisiting train lines going into NJ..and ready?? we ask NJ and NY as well as the federal goverment to perhaps add a switching station at the Secaucus train station going INTO PENN STATION..I am not an expert..but the cost of a switch there is not hundreds of millions of dollars and it can jump start the lower hudson economy big time.just buy a few more trains too simple?
a simple analogy!!! would anyone let a relative who weighs 300 lbs sit on a broken folding chair?????Not a pretty sight!!! especially one a raised patio with thin supports now add 5 more relatives at 300 lbs all on old skimpy patio chairs sitting on one corner of the raised old wooden termite infested patio?get the picture????
Stephen J. Reich October 26, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Takes too much time and the existing lines are maxed out already
JC Brotherhood October 26, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Russ: As long as we strive to solve 21st century problems with 20th century solutions we will all fall short. We live what, twenty something miles from the greatest city on the planet and cant get a reliable transit ride to or from New York after midnight. Many of my shifts start at 4 or 5 am and end after midnght. We have to realize that while the Eisenhower Interstate system was appropriate in the days of $.35 gal gasoline it no longer fits the bill for the sheer numbers of people who either insist on an SOV ride or have no other choice. Mass transit has to work for everybody or it works for nobody.

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