The new Tappan Zee Bridge is being built by the Left Coast Lifter, a floating crane longer than a football field that can lift 1,750 metric tons, or 12 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.
The 328-foot crane departed from the San Francisco area in mid-December setting out on its 6,000-mile journey to New York's Hudson River where it will be tasked with helping to construct the new Tappan Zee Bridge, a $3.9 billion project which is expected to take three years to complete.
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In mid-January, the massive crane passed through the Panama Canal, the midway point of its approximately 8-week voyage from one coast to another.
Bystanders gathered to watch as the massive crane squeezed through the Panama Canal.
"Magnifico!" shouted 73-year-old Ramiro Villalobos, one of several dozen drivers who pulled over to take in the sight, The New York Times reported
. "Its size — I’ve never seen anything like that."
"I’m amazed something so big can float," added Jean Lonsdale, a 65-year-old Englishman who happened to be vacationing nearby while the crane passed through the canal.
According to the Panama Canal Authority, the Left Coast Lifter operator's paid 70,000 to cross through the canal.
Prior to its current project, the Left Coast Lifter assisted in the construction of a span of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
When it arrives in New York in mid-February, the Left Coast Lifter will be tasked with tearing down the current Tappan Zee Bridge through the crane's system of cabled pulleys powered by three diesel 806-horsepower generators.
The 3-miles long Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects New York's Rockland and Orange counties, supports approximately 138,000 vehicles per day. Part of the justification for it replacement was that it was built to last just 50 years, having been constructed during the Korean War when there was a shortage of building materials available due to the war effort.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge will consist of four vehicle lanes on each span, eight total, as well as a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path.
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