New York is in the midst of building bridges across the region – from replacements for the Tappan Zee, Goethals and Kosciuszko bridges, to raising the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge, massive new bridge construction is underway. This investment in critical infrastructure will result in some of the largest public works projects in decades.
The Tappan Zee, or New NY Bridge, is the single largest bridge construction project in New York’s history and the first major use of design-build procurement in New York State. Tappan Zee Constructors, a consortium of Fluor Construction, American Bridge. Traylor Brothers and Granite Construction, are erecting a 3.1 mile twin span cable-stayed bridge with angled main span towers alongside its obsolete predecessor, which opened in 1955, in the Hudson Valley.
The replacement of the Goethals Bridge is the first major use of a public private partnership, or P3, in the New York region for bridge construction. The NYNJ Link was awarded a $1.5B contract to design, build, finance and maintain the new bridge, and Kiewit-Weeks-Massman, AJV has been selected for the design-build portion of the project. The original Goethals bridge was built in 1928, one of the first of two projects built by the Port Authority.
The Kosciuszko Bridge is a critical link on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway over Newtown Creek, built in the 1930’s and first opened to traffic in 1939. Carrying more vehicles daily than the Tappan Zee or the Goethals Bridges, the Kosciuszko is part of a critical transportation corridor in New York City. The tri-venture design-build team of Skanska, Kiewitt and Ecco III are building a cable stay bridge to replace the aging, high-accident Kosciuszko Bridge.
Raising the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge, which opened in 1931 and connects New Jersey and Staten Island, will allow newer “Panamax” ships to pass beneath it to critical marine terminals in both states to keep the region competitive. The Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project will increase clearance from 151 feet above water to a 215 clearance. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey retained the Skanska Koch Kiewit joint venture for the project.
The first phase of the long awaited and oft-delayed Second Avenue Subway opened to great fanfare on January 1st, marking one of the most momentous infrastructure achievements in decades. After nearly a century of fits and starts, service to the first four stations marked the biggest expansion of the subway system in 50 years. Phase One will serve approximately 200,000 daily riders, reduce overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Line, and cut commuting time for many riders traveling from the Upper East Side.
The teams working on this project – E.E. Cruz/Tully, Comstock/Skanska, Judlau Contracting, and 86th Street Constructors (a Schiavone/Picone joint venture) – worked day and night, holidays and weekends to deliver this project by the January 1 deadline. Several other GCA members also worked on various elements of project, either on their own or as part of joint venture teams including J. D’Annunzio & Sons, J. F. Shea Construction, John Picone Inc., Kiewit Infrastructure, and E-J Electric.
Governor Cuomo noted the tireless work of the contractors and their employees, stating “New Yorkers have waited nearly a century to see the promise of the Second Avenue Subway realized, and after unrelenting dedication from thousands of hardworking men and women, the wait is over and the subway will open on December 31.”
While not yet funded, the three remaining phases of Second Avenue Subway construction will ultimately join Phase One to provide service from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan. Locating and allocating funding to complete the project is critical to reducing overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, and to fulfilling a promise made decades ago.
The city’s first water tunnel turns 100 this year, with little fanfare. Instead, millions of gallons of water will continue to run through it, bringing the best tasting water in the nation to New Yorkers. Even as the first and second water tunnels do the work they were built to do, a critical third water tunnel is under construction that will afford redundancy and allow repairs and maintenance on the existing tunnels.
Completed in 1917, City Water Tunnel 1 begins at the High View Reservoir in Yonkers and extends through the Bronx and crosses the Harlem River to Manhattan and the East River to Brooklyn. Covered in most places by at least 150 feet of solid rock through its course in the city, the tunnel is from 200 to 300 feet deep. Together with a second city water tunnel that was built two decades later, this system still serves the needs of the thirsty city.
The network of shafts, trunk mains, and distribution mains connecting the billion plus gallons of water from the third water tunnel to our homes and businesses in Manhattan is nearing completion. In late 2016, a new siphon was activated to increase the water distribution capacity between Brooklyn and Staten Island. The final step in the long-awaited completion of the third water tunnel involves building connection shafts and distribution mains in Brooklyn and Queens. This work is still years away.