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Monster Crane Arrives In NYC To Help Build New Tappan Zee Bridge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A monster crane that will be used in the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge has arrived in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The nearly 400-foot-long "Left Coast Lifter" -- which has been nicknamed the "I Lift NY Super Crane" by officials in Albany -- is one of the largest floating cranes in the world.

"There are some very big cranes on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge right now, but this one will dwarf them all," said Tappan Zee Bridge adviser Brian Conybeare. "It's bigger than a football field, and its boom is longer than a football field."

The crane departed the San Francisco area for the 6,000-mile journey days before Christmas, CBS 2's Lou Young reported. The crane traveled down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal and then up the East Coast.

It arrived in the Port of New York and New Jersey on Thursday and will be docked at a private facility in Jersey City until it's moved to the project site this spring when the ice clears.

"It is fitting that New York's most ambitious infrastructure project of the 21st century includes one of the world's biggest floating cranes," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "The I Lift NY super crane can lift the equivalent of 12 Statues of Liberty at once, and its ability to lift huge modular components of the new bridge into place and to help dismantle the old bridge will reduce construction time by months and reduce project costs by millions of dollars."

The giant machine that slid into the harbor on its own barge is so big is blotted out the New York City skyline for those waiting for it in Jersey City.

"When it was further away, you said, 'Oh, that looks like a big crane," said Vince Press. "But when it's right up close like this, it is gigantic."

"It's a very impressive piece of engineering," added Phil Little, another observer.

The new bridge will be built on land and assembled by the crane -- a time saver that helped the contractors underbid their nearest competitors by $800 million, or about a quarter of the total project cost, Young reported.

"The pieces we'll put in place are anywhere from 900 to 1,100 tons," said Carla Julian of Tappan Zee Constructors LLC. "Typically, that would take two cranes to lift."

The bridge's first span will open in 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

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