Tappen Zee Bridge Reconstruction: Left Coast Lifter Passes Through Panama Canal

One of the world's largest floating cranes was scheduled for passage of the Panama Canals as soon as Saturday, Jan. 11 on its way to the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild.

Screenshot from YouTube footage of the crane's departure from Oakland Harbor.
Screenshot from YouTube footage of the crane's departure from Oakland Harbor.
Written by Krista Madsen

Think our Tappan Zee Bridge toll plaza is steep? Even when the price goes up, as it is expected to do times three, it won't compare with what it costs boats and barges to make their way through the Panama Canal. 

The toll rate to enter the 50-miles of locks and canals in Panama can go anywhere from $50,000 to $375,000, depending on what you're hauling. 

One would hope a famous floating crane might enjoy a little good guy discount. 

The Left Coast Lifter, has since Dec. 22, been slowly making its way on a 6,000 mile route down the West Coast, around to the canal and Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately up the East Coast, from the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge it recently completed to our Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild in Hudson. 

It was scheduled, all 400 feet of it, with the help of two sturdy Foss tugs, to begin its journey through the Panama Canal as soon as Saturday, Jan. 11. 

You can chart the course of the Lauren and Iver Foss tugs here and here, which many crane aficionados are doing with great interest. 

The Panama Canal, over 100 years old, was considered among the greatest engineering feats in history at the time. But now it is being dwarfed and outdated by an ever-growing shipping industry. 

Pri.org cites a line at times of 150 boats waiting to enter the locks. For the last six years and for billions of dollars, construction has been going on to widen the locks and deepen the channel, to allow for more, and bigger vessels, and of course more big proceeds to come. 

The project, originally estimated for $5.2 billion is now expected to cost $7 billion, Pri.org reports, and has simply become too pricey. Work may grind to a halt as soon as Jan. 20. 

Our crane will surely be through by then though, and sturdily making its way up to our billion dollar project, supposedly for arrival here by the end of January. Just in case you can't see it well enough, there are now four construction cameras capturing the progress from every angle at NewNYBridge.com.

In other bridge news this week: 

The ice is melting and things should be back on track after our own work halt due to below-freezing conditions. 

An update from the Thruway:

On Monday, Jan. 13 and Tuesday, Jan. 14, the southbound, right-hand lane and shoulder of the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) near exit 10 in Nyack will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  On Wednesday, Jan. 15 and Thursday, Jan. 16, the northbound, right-hand lane and shoulder of the Thruway (I-87/I-287) near exit 10 in Nyack will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to allow for work on the northbound maintenance ramp. 

Mariners should be aware that TZC will be installing permanent piles in the vicinity of the side channels under the existing bridge. Pile driving will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, and occasionally between noon and 7 p.m. on Saturdays. New temporary navigational lights have been installed to further define the 600-foot navigation channel under the main span. Both temporary and permanent piles are illuminated at night.

Temporary Rockland trestle construction, including pile driving on weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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