New Bridge Over the Hudson

By Johna Till Johnson

As many of our readers know, I’m a huge fan of bridges. To me, they’re beautiful both physically and metaphorically—lovely structures that bring two sides together. Although my favorite bridge is the Hell Gate Bridge, I’m passionate about all the New York waterway bridges.

So it’s a big deal to me that New York will be replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge—and the new structure will be complete relatively soon (supposedly, by 2018).

Here’s what the Tappan Zee Bridge looks like today:

IMGP2769 cropped small

And here’s what it’s supposed to look like in future:

Y-TAPPAN2-sub-superJumbo

I’m not crazy about the outward-reaching “harp” towers… but it is a bridge, and I love bridges… What do you think?

56 responses to “New Bridge Over the Hudson

  1. Wow that will be quite the magnificent structure! Definitely will stand out and be recognizable.

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  2. I think NY is suffering from Savannah envy.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yeah, me too :-). Then again, I hate losing something I’ve grown fond of–who’s to say I won’t grow fonder of the new bridge(s)?

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  3. Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain and commented:
    It’s unique.

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  4. Well … I note that the water is MUCH CALMER in the future. [grin]
    But siriusly, it looks … OK. It’ll probably look a whole shitload better when it’s a real thing, Johna. Be positive, as you always are about bridges.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      :-) Thanks Margaret. Hope it does. I am generally a particular fan of suspension bridges (love to watch the way the cables appear to move as you approach the bridge) so that’s something!

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  5. It has a walkway and bike path. We fought like hell for that. Ergo…better bridge! Although I wish the fencing wasn’t so high. I think the harps in real world as opposed to design world have possibilities.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      We did?! I don’t remember weighing in :-) :-).

      Seriously, thanks for the efforts on that front—I am DELIGHTED to know that those essential components are part of the new bridge! (I love looking up at the walkers/bikers/joggers).

      And it does have a certain appeal…..Thanks again for fighting for livability. Very important!

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  6. The harp design isn’t as aesthetically pleasing – it looks like legs stuck up in the air, relating to nothing. A walkway and bike path will most likely be pleasing though to pedestrian traffic. How in the world is something like this new bridge supposed to be inspected and maintained? Can you imagine climbing those giant “legs?”

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes, that’s what gets me. I love the idea of a suspension bridge, but what’s with the tops of the legs sticking OUTWARDS? I’m an engineer, that just seems like a bad design, structurally–aren’t things more stable when the legs are farther apart at the bottom, and closer together at the top? (I mean, if you want to balance on a heaving vessel, you stand with your legs apart, not together, right?)

      But now that you mention it–climbing those legs could be fun!

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  7. I hadn’t heard about the new bridge yet. Love the new modern bridge.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yay! A thumbs up for the new design!

      Honestly, the more I look at it the more I like it, even with the weird “harp legs”.

      The current bridge is starting to look old and dated to me–already. Funny how that happens!

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  8. Giant vintage wooden clothes pegs stuck down into bedrock? Except these aren’t wooden… interesting. Don’t know if I like it just yet.
    del

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  9. I share your passion for bridges. I remember when the Tappan Zee Bridge was built. There was plenty of concern about it’s impending impact on relatively sleepy Rockland County, the west side of the Hudson at that point. But progress prevailed, as it must, and the county’s population and traffic congestion skyrocketed. The new design certainly is dramatic compared to the old, which causes me to wonder (theoretically) what the NEXT bridge may look like – 59 years from now! M

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    • I’ve heard also how people were upset that the beautiful vista of the Tappan Zee was cut in half by the bridge… Actually, a lot of that feeling seems to have come in retrospect, after the bridge had already been there for some time—in the 1950s people did not elevate environmental and esthetic concerns over technological and commercial ones in quite the same way. And that feeling was resurrected now that the question of replacing the bridge came up—many people wanted a tunnel instead. But that would have been a lot more expensive…

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  10. If you enjoy bridges, come visit our city. Pittsburgh is full of them!
    I have driven over the Tappan Zee many times and think the replacement looks exciting and different.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Ruth–Pittsburgh is one of my favorite cities, I’d happily come visit! It has a unique quality of light, clear and yet diffuse. Very northern. Thanks for posting!

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      • Well don’t come today as the wind chill makes it -18 but let me know when you head this way. There at tons of kayaks to rent on the Allegheny, right under the Roberto Clemente bridge

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  11. We have one of the harp bridge in Boston now. It’s better looking than the old Tobin, which is stump ugly. New York has bridge. Boston has roads that cross water.

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      “Roads that cross water”–LOVE IT! I will have to look up pictures of the Boston harp bridge.

      Thanks for posting!

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  12. I think the new bridge will be really awesome.

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  13. I’m thinking I love the first picture: the weather is so grey and then your brightly coloured kayaks bring such joy to the picture :)

    But maybe the new bridge looks better once there is life around it. As you say, bridges bring two sides together, and now the plan is just sterile.

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  14. How long will this take I wonder??

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  15. Makes me think ‘Swedish Noir’. ‘The Bridge’. Perhaps not as elegant as the Swedish-Danish construction.

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  16. I last crossed the Tappan Zee bridge last summer. So are they planning to replace the existing bridge completely, or run a second bridge parallel to it, Vladimir?

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    • Replace it completely, but in stages: first they will build a parallel span (by 2016), then tear down the old bridge, then build a second new span parallel to the first (by 2018). The new bridge will in fact be two bridges side by side, with a total of 8 lanes of traffic.

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  17. I may be wrong Vlad but it looks like an inferior copy of the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin which most certainly won’t entertain 8 lanes of traffic!
    Like most things, though, I expect one will get used to it and even acquire an affection for it.

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    • Thanks for pointing us to the Samuel Beckett Bridge. I can see the similarities, but in many respects the two seem to me to be quite different… And there is the difference in scale: the width of the Hudson River that this bridge (with approaches) has to span is over 3 miles…

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  18. I love bridges, too, Johna – I think the new one is something different for NYC, which has so many (beautiful) old bridges. I like it, but don’t like to think of the old one being pulled down.

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  19. Wow, what a different look that is. So many, many times I drove past, and across, that bridge – but as a structure I guess it’s not particularly special (the Hudson River landscape, on the other hand certainly is!). So I would think it might be a little hard to used to – for a minute or two! Then I might really like the new look.

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    • I am sure we’ll all get used to it quickly—the bridge is big, but still quite small in the landscape…

      In any case, the next few years, while it’s being constructed, will certainly be interesting. We’ll visit often (by kayak)… :-)

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  20. It’s an interesting shape, Vladimir, and they can’t all be the same, can they? :)

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