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John Jay’s Principles of Engineering class visited the Tarrytown office of Tappan Zee Constructors in mid-November.
It was the second annual trip for the class, and the mood of the engineers seemed just a bit more celebratory and relaxed than last year. The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge—the largest bridge and highway infrastructure project in North America—successfully opened to traffic in August 2017.
“The visit created a connection between what the students are doing in the classroom to a real-world structures project,” said Steve Zoeller, Principles of Engineering teacher. “The students have been investigating forces, materials, and bridge types, and learning how to use computer-aided design, drafting and simulation software.”
The class met with Dan Marcy, Community Relations Specialist and Andrew P. O'Rourke, Jr., Educational Outreach Coordinator for the New NY Bridge Project for the New York State Thruway Authority.
Themes of project management and risk assessment emerged through the conversation about dismantling the old bridge.
“We’ll cut the old bridge into three pieces, and lower them onto barges during the December holidays,” said O’Rourke. “The trusses have to be tied off so they don’t come apart. All of this takes planning. It’s all about being prepared.”
"We try to plan for any inevitability," said Marcy. "Part of the design-build cost was risk assessment. We projected that with nine million hours of construction time, there were two million opportunities for injuries on this job. We have a physician assistant on the site 24/7.”