Giant “Left Coast Lifter” crane’s first lift at new Tappan Zee bridge site more than a year in the making

Updated May 5, 2015

One of the largest cranes in the world was finally put to use in the Hudson River on Friday as it made its first lift in the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, according to a report from The Journal News.

The crane’s first job was to place a 650-ton cap for the bridge—no big deal for the giant machine, which is capable of lifting 2,000 tons.

Built on a 384-foot barge and equipped with a 328-foot boom, the crane will save crews time and money as well as create a safer work environment during the $3.9 billion construction project over the next three years.

The crane has been dubbed “I Lift New York” since its arrival in the city in February 2014, but it’s officially recognized as the Left Coast Lifter. The $50 million crane got its name during its first job, assisting in the construction of the new eastern portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

It set out on a 6,000-mile journey in January 2014 from the Oakland Bay down the Pacific Ocean and through the Panama Canal before heading up the Atlantic for New York.

After it arrived early last year, the Left Coast Lifter was unpacked and tested over the summer for its new job in the New York Harbor on the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The original bridge was built in 1955 and will be demolished using the crane once the construction is complete. Engineering News-Record reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the giant crane is saving the state $1 billion in construction costs.