A short reprieve from bad weather in the last week has finally allowed Tappan Zee Bridge construction crews to resume work on the Hudson River.
Not only are they back to work, but crews are toiling away around the clock to install giant steel piles that will help support the new crossing. The piles are being installed in two segments and then welded together.
The pile welders, members of the local dockbuilders union, are working six days a week in two 12-hour shifts. As the work progresses, a third shift will be added, with each team of welders working eight-hour shifts six days a week, project leaders say.
Over the next year, leaders have said they hope to have 1,000 piles installed in the river. Crews are currently working on a batch of 90 piles.
In other Tappan Zee Bridge project news this week:
- The project's 31-member mass transit task force delivered its final report on Friday, after more than a year of meetings. The Thruway Authority formed the panel in 2012 to study and make recommendations for mass transit improvements on Interstate 287.
- The panel has proposed expanding the existing Tappan ZEExpress bus service and a creating a "bus rapid transit" system with seven routes in Westchester and Rockland. The ambitious plan calls for a series of new stations, modern vehicles, and dedicated bus lanes in some places.
- The report did not include cost estimates or specific ways to pay for such a system. Still, top state transportation leaders said they are committed to having the system in place by the time the new Tappan Zee is completed in 2018.