E.E. Cruz Co. Inc./Tully Construction Co. Inc. – Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

When two organizations come together to work on a project, they can offer a unique combination of talents. That is exactly what E.E. Cruz Co. Inc. and Tully Construction Co. Inc. have brought to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge project in Queens, N.Y.

Tully Project Manager Bill Groesbeck notes the two firms have formed joint ventures on many projects before, including work on the Second Avenue Subway line and the Route 9A project near the World Trade Center in New York City. “It’s a good marriage,” he says. 

With the parentage of Flatiron Construction Corp., E.E. Cruz “has very effective costing and administrative procedures in place,” Groesbeck says. “Tully has a strong network of manpower and a large fleet of equipment. Both companies have their different areas of expertise and both know how to get the job done.”

This makes the joint venture a good fit for the Bronx-Whitestone project, which consists of the replacement and widening of the Queens roadway approach to the bridge, which connects Bronx, N.Y., to Queens and Long Island, N.Y. Groesbeck notes that the companies will construct 1,000 linear feet of elevated roadway and 1,500 linear feet of on grade approach work.

The project also includes new foundations and six-double-arch concrete piers to support the widened roadway, which will consist of steel girders and a concrete deck. E.E. Cruz and Tully started work on the project in July 2011, and will be finished in April 2015, Groesbeck says.

So far, the project team has completed substructure work and is in the midst of demolishing the superstructure and putting up new steel. 

“There are seven different stages for the elevated roadway work which require a permanent lane closure,” he says.

Safe and On Schedule

E.E. Cruz and Tully cope each day with the challenges of staying on schedule and minimizing the impact to the local communities. “The schedule is pretty tight,” Groesbeck says. “We are only allowed 378 days of permanent lane closures.”

The Queens side of the bridge has been difficult to work on, he admits. “There are beautiful neighborhoods all over the place,” he says. “There was an existing park under the bridge which we had to demolish in September 2011 before we could begin our work. A late pre-bid contract addendum required [the] Cruz/Tully Joint Venture to build a new park 100 yards to the east in Francis Lewis Park, which had to open in April 2012. The basketball and handball courts will be rebuilt under the bridge at project’s end.”

But the companies have coped by using methods such as switching the original pile specifications with auger piles, which are more easily installed and have very little runoff and waste. “That saved us a lot of time,” Groesbeck says. “We also made the decision to self-perform our steel demolition and steel erection which not only saved us money, but let us have control over these operations, which was important in this staged construction.”  

The project team also has maintained a strong safety record. “So far, we’ve only had two lost-time accidents, and both were fairly minor,” he states.

E.E. Cruz and Tully have managed this by employing two licensed site safety managers who are on site every day, Groesbeck says. “They hold a major toolbox talk on Monday morning and refreshers during the week, they continually walk the site, looking for potential hazards and hold several safety stand downs a year,” he says.

Working Together

Groesbeck joined Tully seven years ago. “This is my second big project working for Tully,” he says, noting that he previously worked with another firm that partnered with Tully. 

Flushing, N.Y.-based Tully started operations in 1923. Since then, it has diversified into other projects, including landfill construction, bus depots, sewage treatment and dewatering facilities, and subway restoration. Tully also was a major part of the World Trade Center clean up.

Groesbeck adds that he is proud of E.E. Cruz and Tully’s work on the project. “The different members of the management staff and labor crews of [both companies] came together as a team,” he says. “We complement each other well.”

He also praises the project’s subcontractors, which include L&M Fabrication based in Bath, Pa. “[They have done] excellent work on the fabrication of the steel,” he says, adding that other subcontractors include Tully subsidiaries Evergreen Recycling of Corona (EROC) for material and material disposal and Willets Point Asphalt. He adds that E.E. Cruz and Tully also have met a 10 percent minority business enterprise goal and a 10 percent women’s business enterprise goal with its subs. 

He adds that he sees a strong future for E.E. Cruz and Tully, which may work together again. “We haven’t won anything lately, but we’re still bidding together,” he reports. 

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