Project Director Jamey Barbas gives us a tour of the newly paved Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge.
It doesn’t get old for Jamey Barbas.
The project director for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, she’s worked on reconstructing the Williamsburg Bridge, refurbishing the Bear Mountain Bridge and also has renovated and built bridges as far away as Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.
And now, in a field known for its dearth of women, Barbas is about to put another major project milestone on her resume with the new, $3.9 billion Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge about to hit the home stretch.
“Is there any wood to knock on?” Barbas said with a laugh when asked if everything has gone smoothly so far. “There’s lots of little things (to still work out). Everything needs to be orchestrated to work perfectly.
“We’re hoping for some good weather … not too many rainy days, and we can finish,” she added.
Barbas — who works for the Thruway Authority and with the Tappan Zee Constructors, the contractors tasked with designing and building the new bridge, to ensure the project is running smoothly — took a contingent of reporters and photographers from the Journal News/lohud.com out onto the bridge’s Rockland-bound span recently to explain the finer points of the project ahead of the opening.
That early August morning, crews were working on paving the span. A temporary Jersey barrier had already been set up and will serve as the divider between what would be the east-bound lanes and what would be the west-bound lanes.
The span is 96 feet wide. Each lane will be 11 feet wide, as it is on the Tappan Zee Bridge and the new bridge will feature the same small shoulders.
Barbas said the contractor paving the bridge was using doing more paving on this project than they usually do in a year. The project had to bring in three companies to provide the waterproofing.
“Even though you see all the major structures here, it looks like it’s finished, there’s all these smaller things,” she said, referring to everything from striping to light testing to getting the electronic messaging signs up and running. “Obviously, the systems have to work.”
A Columbia University-trained civil engineer, Barbas joined the project in 2015 after serving as senior vice president at Louis Berger, a $1 billion firm providing engineering, planning and management services. With 30 years worth of experience, the Thruway Authority tapped her due to her experience working on bridges and building in cold weather.
The last big project Barbas had worked on was the $1.7 billion, 100 mile AutoRoute 30 in Quebec, outside of Montreal between 2006 and 2011. She has also worked on projects in Maine and New Hampshire.
When she joined the project, crews had begun installing girders and road decks on both approaches and the Thruway Authority had recently announced that the opening of the first span would be pushed back from December 2016 until this year.
And while the opening later this month is a big milestone, the tough work is ahead.
Barbas said crews will have to build the on-land approaches to the bridge, finish the second span and demolish the Tappan Zee Bridge simultaneously.
The Mario Cuomo Bridge project is set to be finished in its entirety sometime in 2018.
“When we have to orchestrate the new bridge, tie-ins, with removing the old bridge it becomes complicated with scheduling,” she said. “Really, that’s the new challenge.”
A compilation of time-lapse videos starting in 2014 with the beginning of construction of the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
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Michele Marsico of Orangeburg talks about her memories of the 20 years she drove across the Tappan Zee Bridge for work at Memorial Park in Nyack, Aug. 16, 2017.
Carucha L. Meuse/lohud.com
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A 1955 documentary about the construction and opening of the original Tappan Zee Bridge. The video is maintained by the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses his effort to name the Tappan Zee Bridge after his father. He met with the media on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in the Red Room of the State Capitol. Video courtesy of governor’s office.
Jon Campbell / Albany Bureau
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses whether his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would have wanted the Tappan Zee Bridge named after him. June 29, 2017. Video: Governor’s office
Jon Campbell / Albany Bureau
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A timelapse from the falcon nest on top of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Video courtesy of The New NY Bridge.
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The Legislature has passed, at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request, legislation to name the new crossing at the Tappan Zee (between Tarrytown and South Nyack) for his father, The Mario M. Cuomo Memorial Bridge. Few like it, but now it’s done.
Video by Nancy Cutler/lohud
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Drone video of the Tappan Zee Bridge as construction is almost complete on the westbound span of its replacement, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
Peter Carr/Ricky Flores/lohud
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke to the Long Island Association, a business group, on Jan. 5, 2016 about the state’s plans to boost its infrastructure and gave his often-told story about how he wanted to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau
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Video: Time-lapse of new Tappan Zee Bridge construction
Video: Tappan Zee Bridge memories, good and bad
Video: 1955 Tappan Zee Bridge opening
Video: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on naming the Tappan Zee Bridge
Video: Cuomo on Tappan Zee Bridge, father’s wishes
Video: Timelapse Tappan Zee Bridge falcon cam
Video Editorial: It’s the Tappan Zee, until it’s not
Drone video: See new Tappan Zee from the air
Video: Cuomo tells story about new TZ Bridge
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