Tappan Zee Constructors, the Fluor-led joint venture team working on the $3.9-billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, will face fines of $1,500 per lane per minute if it fails to keep a minimum of four lanes open during rush hour throughout construction, according to an agreement between the team and the New York State Thruway Authority.

The nine-part agreement also calls for the team to be fined $120,000 per day for each day it is late in completing the project by April 3, 2018, according to an April 10 article in The Journal News, which obtained the first two parts of the 5,000-page agreement through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The team will also be fined for toll collection interference, the agreement says. These fines amount to $14,000 per hour if the authority is unable to collect electronic tolls during peak weekday hours, and $10,500 per hour for cash tolls during peak hours.

Parts one and two of the agreement are now available on the thruway's wesbite. The remaining seven parts of the agreement are being redacted for security reasons and have not yet been released, says Brian Conybeare, a thruway authority spokesman.

Rendering Courtesy of NYS Thruway Authority
High Stakes: Under the agreement, the team would be fined $120,000 per day for each day it is late in completing the project by April 3, 2018.

The high penalties are likely higher than normal, but the project—also known as the New NY Bridge project—is massive, Conybeare says.

In comparison, Tutor Perini, contractor on the Tappan Zee Bridge upper deck replacement project, is subject to a penalty of $500-$1,000 per lane per minute, depending on the time of day, says Dan Weiller, a thruway authority spokesman. In fact, Tutor Perini was fined a total of $241,000 on Dec. 4, 2012 for failure to have lanes reopen in time for the morning rush hour, which caused a major traffic jam throughout Rockland County, he adds.
Tappan Zee Constructors said in a statement that it is confident that it will meet the scheduled completion date. The team "has spent a great deal of time and expertise in planning and developing the detailed work schedule for the design and construction of the New NY Bridge Project."

It acknowledges, however, that with any complex projects of this size and scope, "circumstances beyond our control" such as weather or other natural disasters could impact the schedule. "Part of our planning process includes establishing contingencies that address these potential situations so that we are well prepared ahead of time," it adds.

Meanwhile, the authority holds a $1.5-billion payment bond on the project and another $1.5-billion performance bond to ensure that Tappan Zee Constructors performs the work, Conybeare says. If the contractors cannot complete the project, the authority could cash in the bond and finish the work, he adds.

Both bonds are underwritten by Zurich American Insurance Co; Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland; Federal Insurance Co.; Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.; Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America; and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Separately, New York State entered the next stage to secure a $1.5-billion federal loan for the project.

This story has been revised to include more information on the penalties and the names of the underwriters of the bonds.