WPCNR TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE BULLETIN. From the New York State Thruway Authority Facebook Site. (Edited) November 9, 2015:
New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Robert Megna today announced at a meeting of its Board of Directors that there will be no toll adjustments along the system, including the Tappan Zee Bridge, in 2016. In addition to no toll increase, the Thruway Authority announced the formation and membership of the New NY Bridge Toll Advisory Task Force which will report its recommendations (on tolls) in mid-2016.
Reports on the Board Meeting indicate that during the Board meeting, it was announced the first new span of the New New York Bridge will not be open until spring of 2017. It was scheduled to open in 2016.
“Given our success in balancing the Thruway’s budget and the infusion of additional funding from Governor Cuomo, we have alleviated the need to implement a toll increase for the remainder of 2015 and for all of 2016,” said Executive Director Megna. “The New NY Bridge project has made tremendous progress, which anyone who drives over the Tappan Zee can see first-hand, and we will continue to work to find ways to keep tolls as low as possible for commuters.”
The announcement of no toll increase in 2016 along the Thruway marks the sixth year since the last increase took effect. The maintenance of tolls at the current level was made possible by a $1.285 billion infusion to the Thruway Stabilization Fund included in the 2015-16 state budget and a record-setting $1.6 billion low-interest Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Independent traffic engineering forecasts also include significant upward revisions from the previous forecast submitted in May 2015.
The 2016 budget forecast shows a traffic growth of 3.4 million vehicles or 1.3 percent above 2015, for total traffic volume of 259.3 million vehicles on the system and increased revenue as a result.
The Toll Advisory Task Force will review toll rates, potential commuter discount options, a resident discount program and commercial vehicle rates to secure additional funding for the bridge. The Task Force will be co-chaired by the Thruway Authority’s Executive Director and the state Department of Transportation Commissioner. The panel, which will conduct monthly meetings, and seek public input, is expected to report its findings in mid-2016. The members of the Toll Advisory Task Force are:
Gerald D. Jennings, former Mayor of the City of Albany, had a 21-year career as a teacher and high school administrator for the Albany City School District. Prior to his election victory in 1993, Jennings served 13 years as a member of the Common Council representing the 11th ward.
Matthew Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens, Rand Realty, and Rand Commercial Services along with Hudson United Home Services, previously served on the Boards of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of People to People.
Joan McDonald, former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation, previously served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Chair of Connecticut Innovations; and held senior management positions at New York City Economic Development Corporation; New York City Department of Transportation; MTA Metro-North Railroad; and Jacobs Engineering.
Lawrence C. Salley, Chairman of the White Plains Housing Authority, previously served as the Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Transportation and is the Secretary of the African American Men of Westchester. He has been an advocate for social and economic development in Westchester, working for financing for businesses and affordable housing in several New York counties.
William C. Thompson, Jr., former New York City Comptroller, currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Managing Director of Siebert Brandford Shank and Co., where he advises state and local governments on a variety of financial services, including housing, health services and transportation. In 2015, Governor Cuomo appointed Mr. Thompson to Chair of the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA).
The New NY Bridge project continues to have a significant economic impact in the lower Hudson Valley region and New York State. More than 5,000 people have worked on the project to date, and Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC has used 622 subcontractors and suppliers based in New York State. The project has also had an unprecedented community outreach plan which has resulted in more than 700 community meetings, educational outreach to more than 25,000 students and a community benefits program that has approved $9.6 million in grants to local residents and communities most impacted by the construction.
Megna also updated the Board on the overall construction progress on the bridge, which remains on target to open in 2018 at a total cost of $3.98 billion. Two major milestones were marked in recent weeks with the steel girder assemblies reaching the one mile point from the Rockland shoreline and the laying of the first sections of concrete road deck panels as the New NY Bridge enters the next building phase with a majority of construction rising above the Hudson River.
Megna outlined for the Board other construction progress made. To date 55 percent of concrete piers are completed; 46 percent of steel girders have been fabricated; 34 percent of the deck panels have been fabricated; 27 percent of girder assemblies placed; and, 13 percent of the main towers poured.
Other 2015 construction milestones Megna outlined include:
- I Lift NY Super Crane’s First Lift April 2015
- Pile Driving (phase 1) Complete June 2015
- First Steel Girder Placed June 2015
- Main Span Towers Begin Aug. 2015
- All Planned Dredging Complete Sept. 2015
- First Concrete Deck Panels Placed Oct. 2015
At today’s meeting, it was also announced that Jamey Barbas, P.E. has been brought on as the Executive Project Engineer.
Barbas has more than 30 years of experience in bridge management, design, construction and inspection with a special emphasis on complex and long span bridges. Her expertise in leading major structure projects in cold weather climates will continue to move the project ahead. Peter Sanderson, Thruway’s Project Manager for the New NY Bridge, will remain with the project analyzing critical issues associated with different phases of construction on the largest highway bridge infrastructure project in the North America.
Along with today’s announcement, the Thruway Authority unveiled an updated, easier-to-navigate New NY Bridge website with an interactive design featuring more photos and videos of the progress of the project. The revamped website also includes a comprehensive project document archive and the option to sign up for project updates. The New NY Bridge website can be viewed at: http://www.newnybridge.com/.