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Precast owns up to Cuomo Bridge joint venture’s expectations

The final span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge opened last month, linking New York and New Jersey over the Hudson River and succeeding the Tappan Zee Bridge. The New York State Thruway Authority, in partnership with the Fluor Corp.-led joint venture of Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) replaced the old steel trestle-style structure with a 3.1-mile, twin-span bridge between Westchester and Rockland counties. The cable-stayed main span is supported by eight 419-ft. towers, which stand at 5-degree angles and feature a sleek, chamfered design. The towers support 192 stay cables, embodying nearly 5,000 miles of steel strand.

The Mario Cuomo Bridge is one of the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States and the most prolific bridge project in Empire State history. TZC’s success in expediting the phased delivery of eastbound and westbound structures hinged on precast concrete specifications rivaling any North American crossing since 1997, when the 12-mile, segmental concrete Confederation Bridge linking Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick was dedicated.

Executed by Virginia’s Bayshore Concrete Products and Coastal Precast Systems, along with Massachusetts’ Unistress Corp. and New York’s Fort Miller Precast, the Mario Cuomo Bridge precast schedule included four pier tower crossbeams, 59 pier and 60 pile caps, plus 6,350 deck panels, primarily 12- x 40-ft. The 340- to 490-ton pile caps served as tub forms for cast-in-place concrete members. Precast pier cap segments, weighing up to 145 tons, curtailed complications TZC was certain to encounter with cast-in-place methods at elevated conditions across an expansive waterway—most functions subject to weather factors and stability of barges bearing batch plants and concrete pumps.

Dubbed New NY Bridge for an interim period, the Mario Cuomo Bridge is nevertheless not lacking in cast-in-place concrete structures. Crews logged 1,400-plus concrete placements throughout the four-year construction schedule, primarily tapping three barge-mounted batch plants whose combined output exceeded 230,000 yd.

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Remaining Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge work centers on the westbound structure’s pedestrian and cyclist path, plus demolition of the original Tappan Zee Bridge. The Tappan Zee Constructors joint venture behind the $4 billion project is comprised of Fluor Corp. (lead), American Bridge Co., Granite Construction Northeast and Taylor Bros. Extensive precast specifications for the deck and other horizontal conditions, were critical to TZC maintaining schedule targets. PHOTOS: New York State Thruway Authority