A stronger, longer-lasting bridge for New York with LafargeHolcim high-performance concrete

4 April 2017

As the time came to replace an iconic New York area bridge, LafargeHolcim designed and delivered the perfect mix to build a longer-lasting, lower-maintenance and cost-effective replacement. The bridge will also improve driving conditions for busy commuters!


One hour north of New York City, the Tappan Zee Bridge has spanned the Hudson River and helped connect key areas of the lower Hudson Valley for over 60 years. In 2011, the decision was reached to replace the deteriorating icon with a state-of-the-art bridge that would stand at least a century, alleviate regular traffic jams and make driving conditions safer. Known as the “New NY Bridge”, the visually stunning 3.1-mile crossing is the largest bridge project in New York history and when it opens in 2018 it will be one of the widest cable-stayed structures of its kind in the world.

Finding the right mix with LafargeHolcim’s technical expertise

Engineers from Tapan Zee Construction and LafargeHolcim’s North American cement teams collaborated to identify the perfect building materials to construct such a dynamic new bridge. The goal was to provide a 100-year service life before needing major maintenance, which requires using concrete with proven strength and longevity-enhancing ingredients. Lafarge North America acted as a technical resource on which materials-including various local aggregate sources, different admixtures, fly ash and slag-to use to produce the ideal high-performance concrete for the project.

300,000 cubic yards of high-performance concrete for a super bridge

After several months of successful performance assessments, the project team decided on a mixture containing a 36-64% blend of Lafarge Type I/II Portland cement and slag cement that met all the stringent requirements for strength, resilience and long-term durability.

Top to bottom, the New NY Bridge will stand strong thanks to more than 300,000 cubic yards of high-performance concrete, including nearly 1,000 precast concrete deck panels. When it opens, it will also stand as a tribute to LafargeHolcim’s stellar collaborative relationships with its customers. Achieving the high-strength, resiliency and 100-year service life goals with minimal maintenance for this super bridge was truly a joint effort!


Zoom on high-performance concrete

High-performance concrete mixtures incorporate supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs)-such as slag cement, fly ash and silica fume-to make the building material stronger and significantly increase its longevity. Blended cements, which are a mix of Portland cement and one or more SCMs, reduce concrete’s permeability while preventing cracks and loss of structural integrity. High-performance concretes also carry environmental benefits since they make use of byproducts from other industries that might otherwise be disposed of in landfills.