The 62-year-old remnants of the old Tappan Zee Bridge went to bridge heaven yesterday, as they were dropped into the Atlantic Ocean to become a huge new artificial reef. At an event celebrating the bridge's new home, Governor Andrew Cuomo enthusiastically explained that when "you create an artificial reef, what you're doing is creating a habitat for the fishery. It increases fishing for recreational fishermen, for mercantile fishermen, it opens up a whole new industry of diving and the tourism related, activities that go with diving."
Cuomo had announced the artificial reef initiative in April, promising 12 reefs would be created around Long Island (including one off Rockaway). On Thursday, an excavator shoved the old bridge materials off a barge two nautical miles from Shinnecock Inlet. During the press conference, Cuomo lamented the new reef's need for a cool name, telling reporters, "I had wanted them to come up with creative names for the sites, like Shipwreck Reef or Pirate Reef or something. I asked DEC to do that, they obviously didn't, but creativity is something we're working on at DEC. we have a creativity workshop that we're going through and counseling."
Check out drone footage of the reefing:
Last month, the NY Times wrote, "By recycling the Tappan Zee, New York State has not only found an affordable and practical way to dispose of some of its massive parts," in addition to the environmental and tourism-related benefits.
Rocket Charters' Tony Dilernia, the governor's appointee to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, told the Journal News that NY State's artificial reef program was a big deal: "This is beyond the scope of anything else that's happened in any state." He added, "Wait a couple of weeks, and you can go fish there."
Here are the state's reef plans:
Beginning in May, state agencies will start to deploy 33 barges of Tappan Zee Bridge recycled materials and 30 vessels that have been cleaned of all contaminants. A total of 43,200 cubic yards of recycled Tappan Zee Bridge material, 338 cubic yards of steel pipe from DOT, and 5,900 cubic yards of jetty rock will be submerged and added to six reef sites as part of the first phase of this initiative. The six artificial reefs that will be developed include:
Three canal vessels and one barge of steelwill be deployed to expand the artificial reef between June 8-15. The 3-acre reef is located 1.6 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 38-40 feet.
One barge of the Tappan Zee Bridge material, one barge of steel pipes and two canal vessels will be deployed to expand the artificial reef beginning Wednesday, May 2. The 35-acre reef is located 2 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 79-84 feet.
Two barges of Tappan Zee Bridge material and two canal vessels will be deployed in July and August to expand the artificial reef. The 14-acre reef is located 2.4 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 70-75 feet.
Fire Island Reef
Ten barges of Tappan Zee Bridge material, 11 canal vessels, one barge of steel and four barges of jetty rock will be deployed to expand the artificial reef between June 26-28. The 744-acre reef is located 2 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 62-73 feet.
Twelve barges of Tappan Zee Bridge material and 11 canal vessels will be deployed in July and August to expand the artificial reef. The 744-acre reef is located 3.3 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 50-72 feet.
One barge of Tappan Zee Bridge material will be deployed in July and August to expand the artificial reef. The 413-acre reef is located 1.6 nautical miles from shore with a depth of 32-40 feet.
Previously, old subway cars have also been dumped in the ocean to create reefs.
And here's video from the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, which sunk a 7,000 ton ship in the Gulf of Mexico for reefing: