Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the New NY Bridge has reached a major milestone with the topping off of the eight main span towers. The New NY Bridge is on track to open in 2018 and on budget at $3.98 billion.
Motorists on the Tappan Zee Bridge may be familiar with the rhythmic bumps in the existing bridge’s roadway. These interruptions are the result of nearly 200 expansion joints, which are designed to absorb the slight expansion and contraction of the bridge’s steel and concrete. Drivers can expect a much smoother ride in the future thanks to the dramatic reduction of expansion joints on the new bridge.
The existing bridge has only seven lanes, some of which are narrower than the current standard lane width of 12 feet. The new bridge will have eight, 12-foot-wide lanes and wider shoulders. The shoulders of the new crossing will greatly reduce the traffic impact of disabled vehicles and accidents, which can cause massive tie-ups on the existing bridge. The incline approaching the main span will not be as steep, allowing large trucks to maintain consistent speed and reduce engine and braking noise. The ability of trucks to maintain highway speed will also reduce speed differential with passenger vehicles which lessens lane changes and potential for accidents. There will also be gently banked curves to further smooth traffic flow and reduce accidents. In addition, the new bridge is being built with space to accommodate dedicated bus lanes. In April 2016, cashless tolling went into effect on the existing bridge, and this will be a feature of the new bridge, eliminating the need for eastbound drivers to slow down or stop and idle at a toll plaza.