Everything has an expiration date, and architecture is no exception – neither is the 3 mile long Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson river. Built in 1955 with minimal resources, on a startingly uneven surface, the bridge was built only to stand for five decades. The corroded infrastructure was in desperate need of a rebuild to not only preserve the architecture, but to protect the lives of the 140,000+ people who cross the three-mile stretch daily (more than twice the design capacity).
One small failure could place thousands of lives at stake – people who have no choice but to cross the bridge to work and make a living for their families. Declared unfit for travel, the bridge faced inevitable peril – unless the state government took action. More than 50,000 bridges nationwide are structurally deficient, calling for a more serious approach to national transport infrastructure.
After 15+ years of conversation, hesitation, debate, and press conferences, the decision was made to rebuild the bridge – responding to the inevitable crisis on the horizon. Failure to respond would see the aging infrastructure collapsing sooner or later.
Rebuilding History, Three Miles Across the Hudson, tells the powerful story of 150 carpenters – a new generation of experts ready to reimagine “the bridge that was never built to last.” The film delves into the trials and tribulations of one of the largest architectural rebuilds in history, developing not just a new bridge, but a safer place for future generations.
This is a story of never giving up, even in the face of adversity – a story of determination, perseverance, and sheer grit. The Men and Women who stood behind the project with great energy and enthusiasm, determined to change history, strengthen economies and communities, and represent pure pride.
Where most people would give up, the national team set out to build the multi-generational bridge from scratch, repairing time-induced damage to make help commuters feel safe again. This inspiring story is a must-see of 2019.
The Tappan Zee Bridge opened to traffic in 1955 and, until its retirement on October 6, 2017, was a vital artery for residents, commuters, travelers and commercial traffic. Bridge traffic grew to about 140,000 vehicles per day in 2016, far more than the Tappan Zee was designed to support. Heavy traffic, narrow lanes and the lack of emergency shoulders had the potential to create unsafe driving conditions. As a result, the bridge had twice the average accident rate per mile as the rest of the 570-mile Thruway system. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to maintain the structure in recent years, and the cost of maintaining it for the foreseeable future rivaled the cost of the new bridge, with no improvements to current traffic conditions. The New York State Thruway Authority retired the bridge on Oct. 6, 2017, after nearly 62 years of service.
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