The Tappan Zee replacement: Bidders must design to last 100 years, but do they have to design it to survive the rapture?


The RFP is out for the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Before you decide that you want to submit a bid, let me break the bad news to you: Unless you’re one of the four shortlisted firms who made it through the qualifications stage, which you can see here you’re a day late and a dollar short. Tappan Zee Bridge.jpg
(No surprises on the list; the consortia are headed by Bechtel, Dragados, Fluor and Kiewit.) Here’s worse news: If you’re hearing this for the first time now, you’re probably living under a rock. This old bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan.

So, they’re building a new one. We’ve been following this project here at Gravel2gavel and we’ve been waiting to see the RFP. Whenever someone will be building an iconic project, it’s always interesting to see the details. Now we can, here.

Some observations, after the jump.

A few quick observations, starting with timing. There’s been a lot of talk lately about infrastructure investment in this country, but the New York State Thruway Authority’s actions are speaking louder than most anyone else’s words. According to their schedule, proposals are due July 27, the Authority will select a proposal in September and issue a Notice to Proceed in October.

Section 1.11 of the Instructions to Bidders requires the Proposers to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement before the Authority sends any RFP documents. This is strange because we’re not Proposers here at Gravel2gavel, but we managed to pull down the RFP documents which are publicly available and re-broadcast them to the world.

Now that I’ve been a bit snarky, I’ll concede that the publicly available documents are redacted in certain places including — not surprisingly — parts that you’d be really interested in, such as pages 123 and 124 of Appendix I, which is all about Existing and Future Requirements for Intelligent Transportation System Elements.

Back to timing. One way the Authority has been able to speed the project along is to issue a Design Build RFP. In order to do that, the Authority is taking advantage of new regulations that allow for environmental reviews of a design build project.