New York: giant bridge on the road to Woodstock

“New York State throughway is closed, man”

As a teenager in Australia in 1969, those words by folk singer, Arlo Guthrie, at Woodstock, really struck a chord.

One day, I told myself, I’d see this throughway that literally became clogged by traffic headed for the legendary rock festival.

My opportunity came in recent years, when Sue and I passed the site of the Tappan Zee Bridge and its eventual replacement – known as ‘The new NY bridge’ – which is being built on the throughway near New York City’s northern suburbs.

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Promoted as possibly the biggest and most challenging bridge project in the US, it will be the widest on the planet, carrying at least 138,000 throughway vehicles a day across the Hudson River between Rockland County and Westchester.

The project – said to cost about US$3.98 billion – includes two parallel, 3.1 mile bridges about 25 miles north of New York City.

Although not scheduled for completion until 2018, the new bridge was already taking shape at the second widest point on the Hudson River.

Most of the substructure work—which includes piles and pier columns—is finished.

Construction continues with the ever-growing placement of steel-blue girders, road deck panels and stay cables on the iconic 419-foot main span towers.


We were also keen to see the original crossing, an iconic cantilever structure that was apparently designed to last only about 50 years, but has been operating since about 1955.

An Internet search revealed that the 3.1-mile Tappan Zee crossing was named by 17th century Dutch settlers. The Tappan was apparently a native American tribe that once lived in the area – and the word ‘zee’ means sea in Dutch.

It’s been a long time since Woodstock, but I have ticked this one off my list.

And, in seeing the New York State throughway, man, I also got to view a massive and eye-opening engineering and design feat.

Main photo courtesy Pinterest and New York Daily

New York City travel