ICRI 2002 Project Award Winner
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Honorable Mention: Transportation Category

New York State Thruway Authority Tappen Zee Bridge Improvement Project
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Albany, New York

Submitted by Polymer Technology

Tappen Zee Bridge

New York State Thruway Authority
Albany, New York

Repair Contractor
Polymer Technology,
joint venture with
Arden Corporation
St. Louis, Missouri

Material Supplier
Poly-Carb, Inc.
Cleveland, Ohio

The Tappen Zee Bridge is a three-mile plus bridge structure crossing the Hudson River north of New York City. It is one of the busiest bridges in the New York area, carrying over 150,00 vehicle crossings per day. The New York Thruway Authority (NYTA) contracted to remove and replace the precast bridge deck panels from the southern section of the bridge structure. This area included about 3,100 linear feet of bridge length, seven traffic lanes wide, for a total of approximately 258,000 square feet of surface area.

To improve the long-term performance and waterproof protection of the new bridge panels, the NYTA decided to install a multi-layer 3/8-inch tick, thin polymer broadcast overlay, in lieu of the standard 2-inch thick asphalt wearing surface. The performance enhancements for choosing the polymer overlay included faster installation and turnaround to traffic, longer wear life, less dead weight on the bridge structure, and improved skid resistance.

A unique challenge of the project was that construction had to be completed under nighttime-only work restrictions. Construction activity from the night before had to be completed and off the bridge so all lanes could be open to morning traffic by 6 AM. There was a rigidly enforced penalty of $1,200 per minute, starting at 6:01 AM for every minute any lane was not open to traffic. The overlay portion of the project was completed in approximately 4 months.

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