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Forum Post: The Verrazano-MTA Debacle

Posted 1 year ago on July 5, 2013, 11:38 p.m. EST by JackHall (413)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

It’s been said that today capitalism isn’t as interested in making stuff as it is in making money. At a time when our economy is struggling to lower the unemployment rate, move forward and climb out of the hole the Republicans had been digging for the past 30 years, New York has taken a great leap backward.

When it opened in 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the world's longest suspension span. The ends of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, both of which guarded New York Harbor at the Narrows for over a century. The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazano, who, in 1524, was the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor.

Its monumental 693 foot high towers are 1 5/8 inches farther apart at their tops than at their bases because the 4,260 foot distance between them made it necessary to compensate for the earth's curvature. Each tower weighs 27,000 tons and is held together with three million rivets and one million bolts. Seasonal contractions and expansions of the steel cables cause the double-decked roadway to be 12 feet lower in the summer than in the winter. Located at the mouth of upper New York Bay, the bridge not only connects Brooklyn with Staten Island but is also a major link in the interstate highway system, providing the shortest route between the middle Atlantic states and Long Island.

In Brooklyn, the bridge connects to the Belt Parkway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and to the largely residential community of Bay Ridge. On Staten Island, which saw rapid development after the bridge opened in 1964, it joins the Staten Island Expressway, providing access to the many communities in this most rural of the city's five boroughs.

The Verrazano MTA

http://www.mta.info/bandt/html/veraz.html [right click]

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay.

The bridge is named for both the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first known European navigator in the service of the King Francis I of France to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River, and for the body of water it spans: the Narrows. It has a central span of 4,260 feet (1,298 m) and was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1964, until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the United Kingdom in 1981, a bridge connecting the (then) counties of North and South Humberside, now renamed North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. It now has the tenth longest main span in the world, is still the longest bridge span in the Americas, and its massive towers can be seen throughout a good part of the New York metropolitan area, including from spots in all five boroughs of New York City and in New Jersey.

The bridge establishes a critical link in the local and regional highway system. Since 1976, it has been the starting point of the New York City Marathon. The bridge marks the gateway to New York Harbor; all cruise ships and most container ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey must pass underneath the bridge and therefore must be built to accommodate the clearance under the bridge. This is most notable in the case of the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2.

Verrazano Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verrazano-Narrows_Bridge [right click]

The agency says it could not find an American company capable of making the high-tech steel plates it wants, but critics say the decision came down to cheaper labor. Add Staten Island’s Verrazano Bridge to the list of U.S. icons that are made in China.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority outsourced a $235 million renovation project to China for work on the statuesque steel span — over the protests of hard-up American steelworkers who say they could do the job. “It’s a kick in the teeth. There’s a lot of New Yorkers who would be thrilled to work on this project. It should be American made,” United Steelworkers’ Vice President Tom Conway said. The union has reached out to New York’s AFL-CIO to mobilize support among other labor organizations, the Daily News has learned.

“Our state has lost nearly half its manufacturing capacity in the past 20 years,” AFL-CIO head Mario Cilento said in a letter sent July 1 to its executive council. Cilento wrote, asking members to “stand by” as they prepare to fight the MTA’s outsourced contract. According to the MTA, there’s not a steel plant in America that can produce the type of high-tech steel plate it wants — known as orthotropic design. “(The agency) worked diligently to find an American steel manufacturer with the capability, experience and desire to fabricate the steel bridge deck ... the MTA could not find an American fabricator,” the agency said in a statement defending its decision. Orthotropic design is rarely used in America because the bulk of U.S. bridges were built before the technology existed. The MTA hopes to extend the Verrazano’s lifespan by replacing its heavy concrete upper deck with lighter, stiffer orthotropic plates. Similar work was done two years ago on another U.S. span, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

MTA Outsources Verrazano Project to China

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-outsources-235m-verrazano-revamp-article-1.1387639 [right click]

The MTA action is a strategic blunder. It is driving the fatal stake through the heart of what was a world leading steel industry. Economic treason is another word for it. Snowden did not profit from his activities, the MTA motivation for this is profit. The largest bridge in the United States should be built with steel produced in the United States for strategic reasons that seem to have escaped MTA, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, the New York/New Jersey Congressional delegations, and the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Indeed many bridges throughout the United States are parts of the infrastructure that needs repair. Would an intelligent administration promising to create jobs and revitalize the economy by rebuilding the infrastructure then allow a local transportation agency to give the contract for the nation's largest bridge to a foreign country?

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[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Welcome - interesting post - hope you are real - as American workers and know-how have been thrown under the bus for way too long. All for sweat-shop labor and increasingly sweat-shop materials that have no concept of QA - they are just CHEAP.