Take A Dip
In your article, Ideas Abound On Crossings Fate, about a suitable replacement for the 50-year-old, 3-mile-long Tappan Zee bridge across the Hudson River, several alternatives are being considered by the New York State Thruway Authority (ENR 4/21 p. 17). One of the obstacles to the selection of a double-deck, steel bridge design mentioned was the painting cost to maintain the bridge. Current painting contracts have cost $23 million for a third of the bridge alone, according to Christopher Waite of the thruway authority.

With hot-dip galvanizing capacities increasing each yearthere are now kettles with 120-ft capacities that could galvanize large girders and beamswhy not consider galvanizing the steel? In many cases, the initial cost of applying the zinc coating of the hot-dip galvanizing process is less than painting and most certainly the life-cycle cost is less because there is usually no maintenance required on hot-dip galvanized steel for 50 or more years. That is a huge taxpayers savings, not to mention the savings in soft costsno traffic jams for repairs!

Rich History
There are some misconceptions in your article about Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 7 (ENR 4/7 p. 14). MCB 7 (Mobile Construction Battalion) was commissioned as NCB 7 (Naval Construction Battalion) in June 1942. NCB 7 did construction at Espiritu Santo, Pearl Harbor, Saipan and completed World War II working on the massive bases being built for support of the invasion of Japan on Okinawa. The battalion was decommissioned in September 1945. Some 150 Seabee battalions were commissioned for WW II and worked in every theater of operations.

Just before the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, 11 Seabee battalions were recommissioned, among them MCB 7 at Davisville, R.I. All 11 battalions were in Korea doing advance base construction. Before the end of the war Seabees began construction of bases in support of the Cold War. Among them was Cubi Point in the Philippines, which involved a regiment of Seabees. Atlantic Fleet Seabees including MCB 7 worked on new bases at Rota, Spain, and the NATO base at Sigonella, Sicily.

In 1962 MCB 7 was rapidly deployed to Guantanimo Bay, Cuba. This was in support of the Cuba Missile Crisis. In Cuba, MCB 7 built defensive positions for the Marines, bunkers, machine gun and artillery positions, roads and command and communications centers.

In April 1966, MCB 7 began the first of four deployments the battalion would make to Vietnam. The Seabees had a brigade in Vietnam with at least two regiments and at the height of activity had 12 battalions in-country. MCB 7 also was in Bosnia. The Seabee “Can Do” spirit is legend in war and peace and MCB 7 is a proud bearer of that legend.