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Building a Bridge

Construction of the new bridge takes place next to the old Tappan Zee Bridge. NEW YORK THRUWAY AUTHORITY

A new bridge is taking shape over the Hudson River. The New NY Bridge, as it is being called, will replace the Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee. Built in 1955, the three-mile-long Tappan Zee connects Nyack, New York, with Tarrytown, New York. It was designed to handle about 100,000 vehicles per day, but an average of 138,000 vehicles make the crossing daily. The bridge was built to last 50 years—and it has.

For years, politicians discussed whether it was worth spending billions of dollars to replace the aging bridge. In 2011, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, with President Barack Obama’s support, pushed for a new structure to be put on the fast track for approval.

“At times, you can see the river through the cracks in the pavement. Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good,” Obama said during a speech in Tarrytown. “We can build better, and we have to.”

A Dream Project

This is an artist’s view of what the new bridge will look like.


Brian Conybeare is a special adviser for Governor Cuomo for the project. He says the new bridge—which is yet to be named—will be “safer and smoother” for motorists. It will have eight traffic lanes and state-of-the- art traffic-monitoring systems. It will also feature a commuter bus lane and a bike-and-pedestrian path.

With a budget of $3.9 billion, the structure will be the biggest bridge project in New York State history. The new structure will be one of the longest cable-stayed span bridges in the U.S. The first span of the twin-span bridge is set to open in 2016, with the second opening in 2018. The old bridge will be dismantled.

David Capobianco is an engineer working on the New NY Bridge. He says the structure is being built to last 100 years. “This is the dream project for engineers,” Capobianco says.