In unique recycling effort, all decks on hand

Panel truck: A "retired" 50-ton concrete deck panel from the old Tappan Zee Bridge gets ready to roll.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

The last of the concrete deck panels from the “retired” Tappan Zee Bridge have been delivered to their new homes.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, a total of 135 deck panels – each measuring 3 feet wide by 50 feet long by 8.25 inches thick, and weighing in the neighborhood of 50 tons – have been delivered to nine specific municipalities and the NYS Department of Transportation.

The recycled panels, each of which is less than 10 years old, boast a combined value exceeding $4 million, Cuomo’s office said in a statement.

The municipalities, including eight upstate counties and the Town of Montgomery in Orange County, will use the deck-panel units to address “immediate and future infrastructure needs,” according to the governor’s office, while the DOT will use its 37 panels for projects underway across the state, including projects on Long Island.

The panels, which were first transported via barge to the Port of Coeymans in Albany County, have been delivered via flatbed truck to the municipalities and to DOT maintenance yards since the unique recycling program began in May.

Cheryl Dinolfo: Reuse, recycle, save taxpayers’ money.

Besides the DOT, Monroe County claimed the most concrete units (31 in all), while other municipalities requested and received lesser amounts (all the way down to Montgomery’s two deck panels).

Reusing the intact concrete structures as “part of critical bridge and infrastructure projects across this great state” is an example of “smart, cost-effective governance,” Cuomo said Monday.

Citing the pursuit of “flat-tax budgets that best protect local taxpayers,” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo agreed the deck-recycling program presents both environmental and economic advantages.

“Monroe County is always seeking new opportunities to cut costs by reusing and repurposing existing materials in innovative ways,” Dinolfo said in a statement. “We are already exploring the possibility of incorporating them into several upcoming traffic and pedestrian-bridge projects across our community.

“I thank New York State for the opportunity to put these panels to work to enhance our transportation infrastructure and ultimately attract more jobs and investment to our county,” Dinolfo added.

The original Tappan Zee Bridge, which opened in 1955, officially closed in October 2017 and was disassembled in sections beginning a few weeks later. Construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge – officially, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge – began in 2013 and the new span (actually, twin cable-supported spans) opened to traffic last summer.

In addition to the recycled deck panels, materials from the decommissioned Tappan Zee Bridge are being used to expand and support the development of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s artificial reef sites off the shores of Long Island. In late May, nearly 900 tons of material from the old bridge, including cleaned steel and concrete, was added to the Shinnecock Reef; earlier this month, more Tappan Zee debris – including deck panels and pipe piles – was added to the Hempstead Reef.


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