New York Thruway
9:20 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Tappan Zee Bridge to Be Replaced Using 400-Foot Floating Crane

The current Tappan Zee Bridge from Westchester County, New York.
The current Tappan Zee Bridge from Westchester County, New York.
Credit Brett Weinstein / Creative Commons

The Tappan Zee bridge across the Hudson River is being replaced, and to get the job done, one of the world's largest floating cranes has arrived in New York.

The Left Coast Lifter is fully automated with GPS technology.
The Left Coast Lifter is fully automated with GPS technology.
Credit State of New York

It's called a Left Coast Lifter. It's 400 feet long -- "about as long as a 30-story building is tall," according to The New York Times -- and can lift 1,750 metric tons, or 12 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. 

The crane took about a month to make its way on water, from San Francisco, through the Panama Canal, to New York Harbor. It arrived on Thursday.

Created in 2009, the crane is fully automated with GPS technology.

Officials hope it will speed up construction, keep costs lower, and take care of a whole lot of necessary dredging during the process.

The Journal News has video of the crane after its arrival:

The Left Coast Lifter at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2011.
The Left Coast Lifter at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2011.
Credit Leonard G. / Creative Commons

Eventually, the crane will be moved up the river to the Tappan Zee, which connects Rockland and Westchester Counties. 

After years of planning, the $3.9 billion bridge is set to open in 2018, with a first new span possibly ready to open two years earlier. State officials said the New York State Thruway Authority is still trying to determine how the bridge's construction will be funded, and what the tolls will be, according to the Journal News.

The state anticipates the new eight-lane bridge will not need major repairs for over 100 years. It will include a bike/pedestrian path and will be built ready for bus rapid transit and rail infrastructure.

Some have suggested the name for the bridge should change. An online petition calls for the Tappan Zee to be renamed for the late folk singer Pete Seeger, who led a movement for a cleaner Hudson River.

A model of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
A model of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
Credit State of New York
A rendering of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
A rendering of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
Credit Tappan Zee Construction and HDR Engineering, Inc.
A rendering of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
A rendering of the new Tappan Zee bridge.
Credit Tappan Zee Construction and HDR Engineering, Inc.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.