The state will impose heavy fines on the developer of the new Tappan Zee Bridge if lanes on the existing bridge don’t open in time during construction, according to a report today in the Journal News.
The state will charge the construction team up to $1,500 per minute in penalties if required lanes aren’t opened, the Journal News’ review of the nearly 5,000-page, $3.1 billion agreement between the state Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors, the consortium selected to design and build the replacement bridge.
And if the team’s work interferes with toll collection during peak times, it will have to pay up to $14,000 an hour. If the new bridge isn’t substantially completed and open to traffic by April 3, 2018, TZC will be fined $120,000 for each day after the deadline. The team also must have the existing bridge demolished by that time, state officials told the Journal News.
In addition to details about what the state will owe and when, the contract also reveals a plan to set up a community benefits fund, with the state and TZC each contributing up to $10 million to it. The fund would pay for extra residential community protections during construction that aren’t required by law, state officials say. One example would be sound-resistant windows for homes near the construction site.
Meanwhile, Tappan Zee Constructors already faces a ticking clock to get the work done on time and without causing major disruptions to the 50 million vehicles that cross the Tappan Zee each year.
When the agreement received final state and federal approvals Jan. 18, the countdown began for TZC to meet certain construction deadlines or get hit with astronomical fines.
TZC President Darrell Waters said in a statement that the group has been planning carefully for the challenge.
“Our team is confident that we will meet our scheduled completion date in 2018,” he said. “With any complex project of this size and scope, there are circumstances beyond our control that could impact the schedule, such as weather or other natural disasters. Part of our planning process includes establishing contingencies that address these potential situations so that we are well-prepared ahead of time.”