Boaters on the Hudson River will not be allowed to go through the main channel under the Tappan Zee Bridge for the better part of Friday, officials said.
The closure, which will take place between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., is the first of about 70 planned for the coming year.
It is necessary, state Thruway Authority officials said, to allow construction crews to install sections of structural steel and road deck panels between the towers of the new span.
Cranes, barges and other construction equipment will occupy parts of the channel during the closures.
Boaters are being advised to avoid the construction site altogether while work is taking place in and around the channel, said the bridge’s project director, Jamey Barbas.
Thanking boaters in advance for their “patience and understanding,” Barbas said that while they may be temporarily inconvenienced, “staying away makes the project site safer for everyone.”
The bridge project has been the scene of several accidents, the most recent being in July when the 250-foot-long boom of a massive crane collapsed across the six-lane roadway.
Three people were injured in the accident, but there were no fatalities, according to multiple media reports.
Earlier that month, a tugboat got snagged in some cables and started to sink. No one was injured in that incident.
However, in March three seamen were killed when the tugboat Specialist crashed as it and two other tugs were pushing a barge past the bridge.
In 2013, an intoxicated man plowed his boat into a construction barge, killing two of his passengers.
And in 2014, a storm apparently caused mooring lines to snap, setting a barge free. The vessel floated two miles down the Hudson and was recovered near Dobbs Ferry. That same year, several silos on a floating concrete plant that had been used in the project collapsed. There were no injuries and no concrete made it into the water.
Times and dates of channel closures will appear in the U.S. Coast Guard’s weekly Notice to Mariners, on the New NY Bridge project’s Twitter feed (@NewNYBridge), and broadcast on Marine Radio Channel 22A.
The times and dates of such closures are subject to change, officials said.
The builder, Tappan Zee Constructors, is keeping the commercial shipping industry up-to-date on the closures, said project executive, Terry Towle.
“Tappan Zee Constructors is working closely with commercial traffic, tugboat captains, and their associated organizations to ensure that they can transit the river safely as we continue building the new bridge,” Towle said.
A complete list of safety measures can also be found at NewNYBridge.com/Boater .
The site also includes an interactive map, which utilizes GPS technology to track all TZC vessels and barges.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.