New York state officials on Monday dropped their proposal for a 45 percent increase on the state Thruway toll for trucks, while advancing a a $3.14 billion project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge.
“It gave us the opportunity to save a very substantial amount of money,” Thruway Authority Chairman Howard Millstein told WCBS 880′s Jim Smith.
Millstein said this project will save about $1.5 billion from the initial estimates.
The proposal endorsed by New York State Transportation Commissioner Thomas Madison on Monday, and expected to be formally adopted by the Thruway board, is the least expensive with the fastest construction schedule of the three bids that were accepted, although the $5 toll is still expected to nearly triple. The Madison-endorsed bid also dredges the least from the Hudson River.
“In just about one year, the bridge went from articulating a vision to getting close to putting a shovel in the ground,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Brian Conybeare served as a special adviser to Cuomo on the project.
“It had the shortest construction schedule, at five years, two and a half months. It had the least amount of dredging, so the environmental impact on the Hudson River itself was the least of the proposals as well,” Conybeare said.
Conybeare said one reason for the lower price tag is that the company, Tappan Zee Constructors, also happens to own the world’s largest floating crane.
“This giant crane can speed up construction, reduce costs, and also speed up demolition of the old bridge,” he said.
The new bridge will not have rails, but will have the capacity to add them for the Metro North line.
According to a release, the bridge designs would take between five and six years to complete. Madison said the beginning of the huge construction project could get underway next month.
“We’ll start to see the equipment and some of the staging areas being constructed,” Madison told Smith.
The other projects were priced at $3.99 billion and nearly $4.06 billion, respectively. The final cost will be higher because of management costs, contingencies and other costs which would have been equal under any of the proposals, Madison said.
Read more at CBS LOCAL NY