Governor Cuomo and the NYS Thruway Authority have asked the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to dredge approximately 1.5 million cubic yards on the north side of the existing Tappan Zee Bridge over the next five years. According to the Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice from January 27, 2012, "the dredging is to provide an access channel located north of, and parallel to the current bridge in order to safely bring in and maneuver marine equipment for construction of the new bridge." Thus far, the State has failed to make the case that extensive, long-term dredging is the only alternative.
The images below, taken last week, show a crane barge, deck barge with steel pilings aboard, and a tugboat.
This equipment is driving test piles for the "Pile Installation Demonstration Project" (PIDP), seen in the image below.
The depth at low tide at this location is 8 feet. What these images prove is that heavy pile driving equipment and tugs can operate within the existing depths available next to the bridge. The current bridge was built without dredging a service channel.
The catastrophic damage to the River, which would result from dredging a service channel, is unnecessary. We must find a way to solve our transportation problems without sacrificing the Hudson River.
Aerial photos courtesy of RossPilot