News Wrap: New TZB Work Starts; Manhattan Water Flows in Tunnel No. 3; Colleges Boost STEM Building
Cuomo Kicks Off Start of Work on New TZB
Crews began installing the permanent piles last month that will be the foundation of the New NY Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. Construction on the long-awaited twin span is expected to be completed in 2018 and cost under $4 billion, according to an Oct. 16 statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing the start of formal construction.
"After more than a decade of delay, New York state has moved this project forward at a dramatic pace while working with the community, involving the public and protecting the local environment," Cuomo said.
When completed, the bridge will include eight traffic lanes; four breakdown/emergency lanes; a traffic monitoring system; a bike and pedestrian path; and a dedicated commuter bus lane. It will also be able to accommodate bus rapid transit and light or commuter rail.
The New York State Thruway Authority awarded a design-build contract last December to the Fluor-led Tappan Zee Constructors LLC consortium, which bid $3.14 billion for the project. In June, crews erected massive steel trestles to serve as staging areas for the project. In September, environmental group Riverkeeper, Ossining, N.Y., threatened to sue the thruway authority, the consortium and one of its contractors for alleged environmental violations, including dredging and failure to protect endangered sturgeon.
Meanwhile, the team faces steep fines if it fails during rush hour to keep a minimum of four lanes of traffic open throughout construction (ENR New York 5/6 p. 9 ).
Water Starts to Flow in New Leg Of Tunnel No. 3
After more than four decades, New York City activated the last leg of the Manhattan portion of Water Tunnel No. 3 last month.
The activation of this 8.5-mile stretch of the $6-billion tunnel—one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city's history—"is a historic milestone," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an Oct. 16 statement announcing the event from inside the tunnel's valve room underneath Central Park.
Tunnel No. 1 has served Manhattan since 1917, and activation of the new tunnel means the older one can be shut off for repairs. Proposed in 1954, Tunnel No. 3 was designed to be built in stages, the city says. Preliminary work began in 1970 but the project faced numerous hurdles including funding, and there have been 24 deaths associated with its construction.
The $2.4-billion first leg was activated in 1998. It is a 13-mile stretch that runs from the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, south through the Bronx and into Manhattan, then east at Central Park and on into Astoria, Queens.
The next leg of the tunnel is under construction in Queens and Brooklyn. Set for completion in 2018 and activation around 2021, the third section has two distinct legs from Red Hook, Brooklyn, to Maspeth, Queens. It will also connect with the Richmond Water tunnel, which serves Staten Island.
Meanwhile, the city's trunk and water main installation work that connects the tunnel to the water distribution system is ongoing (ENR New York, 9/9 p. 45).
Colleges Boost STEM Building Programs
Columbia, Cornell, Fordham and New York University are among the region's institutions with major plans to grow their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) student bodies and, as a result, build new facilities.
Drawing on long-term, billion-dollar capital investment programs, several have already begun to add space for classrooms, research, collaboration and residential housing. Even public schools with dwindling smaller budgets are including a STEM push in long-range plans to add or modernize facilities, many of which are 100 years old.
The local efforts are in line with New York City's plans to become a world-class science and technology hub, but they are not restricted to the city. Earlier this month, the University of Pennsylvania opened a world-class, 78,000-sq-ft nanotechnology center in Philadelphia, and Buffalo University broke ground Oct. 15 on a $375-million medical school in Niagara, N.Y.