Construction barges on the Hudson River for the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuilding project on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Contractors are sending roughly $5 million worth of steel materials to Delaware for emergency repairs to the I-495 bridge in Wilmington. / Peter Carr, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News
WILMINGTON - Contractors building a new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York City are sending roughly $5 million worth of steel materials to Delaware for emergency repairs to the crippled I-495 bridge.
The Tappan Zee team has shipped on-hand steel rebar and rebar cages that will reinforce new concrete supports of the damaged span over the Christina River. The 40-year-old bridge, which closed June 2, carried 90,000 vehicles a day along the I-495 artery around downtown Wilmington.
"We are expediting delivery of the steel-reinforcement materials to enable timely repair of the bridge in Delaware," Tappan Zee Constructors LLC President Darrell Waters said in a statement.
The first steel cages arrived in Wilmington late Friday. Others will be fabricated to specifications provided by the Delaware Department of Transportation and shipped in the coming weeks, said Geoff Sundstrom, a DelDOT spokesman.
The partnership is saving the Delaware agency the six to eight weeks that it would have taken such materials to arrive during the height of the road construction season.
"Where the time-savings comes in is that they already have the fabrication line set up for this, and already have the steel on site," Sundstrom said. "It saves us time, and some money."
One of many bridge experts called in to consult on the I-495 fix also works on the Tappan Zee plans, and knew the cages were on hand for use on that job later this summer, engineers said. With the help of federal officials, DelDOT reached out to the New York State Department of Transportation to ask for emergency help on the Wilmington project.
TZC will provide DelDOT with approximately 4,800 linear feet of 4-foot-wide rebar cages at an estimated cost of $4 million to $5 million, for which TZC will be reimbursed, officials said.
The rebar is cut to length at a division of Gerdau Longsteel North America in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and the cages are stockpiled at a TZC staging area in Tomkins Cove, New York, said Carla M. Julian, community outreach manager for TZC.
The materials diverted to Delaware will be replaced in July in time for when they're needed for construction on the Hudson. The diversion will have no monetary impact on the $3.9 billion project to replace the aging, 3-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries the New York State Thruway across the river between Rockland and Westchester counties, officials said.
"Diverting extra materials from the New NY Bridge project will have no impact on our project schedule here on the Hudson, but it will go a long way to ensuring a safe resolution to a critical infrastructure emergency," New York State Thruway Authority Chairman Howard P. Milstein said in a statement.
The timeline for DelDOT's $20 million plan to temporarily shore up and stabilize leaning bridge supports is unchanged, Sundstrom said. If all goes well, traffic would return to southbound lanes around Labor Day, with northbound lanes reopening in mid- to late September. Temporary use of the southbound section for two-way traffic is under consideration.
Contributing: News Journal reporter Jeff Montgomery
Read the original story: N.Y. pitches in steel to aid Delaware bridge repairs