“REBUILDING HISTORY”

The historic Tappan Zee Bridge was never built to last. Tonight, we share the story of the passageway no longer safe to travel, a state government that never gave up its efforts to rebuild and the manpower that finally did.

Aired on October 21, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> THREE, TWO, ONE.

INITIATE POWER.

THAT WAS THE MIGHTY TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE BEING DEMOLISHED BACK IN JANUARY.

BUILT IN 1955, THE THREE-MILE-LONG CONSTRUCT THAT CROSSES THE HUD WAS DESIGNED TO LAST ONLY 50 YEARS, BUT INSTEAD LASTED MORE THAN 60.

NOW PLANS TO REPLACE IT HAS BEEN HALLMARKED AS ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT AND BUDGET EFFECTIVE ON RECORD.

IN THE DOCUMENTARY 'REBUILDING HISTORY: THREE MILES ACROSS THE HUDSON' MEET THE NEW PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THIS STRUCTURE A REALITY.

EVERYTHING HAS A LIFE EXPECTANCY TO IT.

WHETHER IT'S A BRIDGE, A TUNNEL, A ROADWAY.

I GOOD OVER THE BRIDGE AT LEAST ONCE, TWICE A WEEK.

THE BRIDGE IS OVER 50 YEARS OLD.

DO I TAKE MY LIFE IN MY OWN HANDS?

I FEEL I DO SOMETIMES.

IT'S ANYTHING WERE TO FAIL, IT WOULD BE A DISASTER.

WE KNEW THAT THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT PROJECT FOR US.

WE KNEW THAT IT HAD TO BE BUILT, AND WE KNEW WE HAD THE MEMBERSHIP AND THE KNOW-HOW TO BUILD A BRIDGE.

WE HAVE THE BEST WORKFORCE IN THE COUNTRY.

THERE IS NO DOUBT.

WE WERE EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

WE WANTED TO BE PART OF HISTORY.

THE MOST SPECTACULAR PROJECT OF THE THROUGHWAY IS THE HISTORIC TAPPAN ZEE SECTION.

WE BUILT IT ALL.

YOU LOOKED OVER, YOU WERE THERE.

AND ABOUT FIVE YEARS.

WE HAVE APPROXIMATELY 150 PARTNERS WORKING ON-SITE THERE.

THIS IS A BRIDGE THAT SYMBOLIZES WHAT WAS AND WHAT CAN BE.

AND THIS IS A BRIDGE FROM YESTERDAY TO TOMORROW.

.

JOINING US NOW IS KEVIN McCABE, THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF 'REBUILDING HISTORY.'

KEVIN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

APPRECIATE IT.

ALL RIGHT.

SO FIRST OF ALL, A MOVIE ABOUT A BRIDGE.

HOW DID THIS EVEN COME TO BE?

A MOVIE ABOUT A BRIDGE.

SO WHAT WE DO, WE WORK FOR THE CORPORATE TRUST A MARKETING ADVERSARY FOR UNION CARPETERS.

WHAT WE DO IS WORK TO PROMOTE THE VIRTUE OF WHAT OUR MEMBERS DO.

AND GENERALLY SPEAKING, WE'LL DO A THREE TO FIVE-MINUTE VIDEO.

THREE YEARS AGO, WHEN WE EMBARKED UPON THIS, WE SAW IT AS A THREE-MINUTE VIDEO, AND THEN WE SAW IT AS SOMETHING LONGER.

WORKING WITH OUR PRODUCTION CREW WHAT WE SAW WAS WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT ON A LEGACY PROJECT.

AND WHAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO DO IS LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO -- YOU CAN'T RESHOOT HISTORY.

NO.

YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT, YOU SEIZE THAT MOMENT.

AND WHEN WE WERE ABLE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT, AND WE DID.

AND WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER WAS WHAT WE ORIGINALLY FELT WAS A THREE-MINUTE VIDEO IS NOW A SHORT FILM DOCUMENTARY WHICH HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED IN SEVERAL FILM FESTIVALS.

SO FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT IS THE NARRATIVE THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

BECAUSE WHO IS THE STAR OF THIS FILM?

IS IT THE BRIDGE?

IS IT THE NEW BRIDGE?

IS IT THE PEOPLE?

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

ALL OF THE ABOVE.

IT IS ACTUALLY -- THE STORY IS TOLD ON PARALLEL TRACKS.

THERE IS THE WHOLE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE BRIDGE WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY BUILT, AND ALL THE ISSUES THAT IT WENT THROUGH TO BE REBUILT.

AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS, ALL THE POLICY HOLDERS, ALL THE DECISION-MAKERS.

WHAT WE DID CORRESPONDINGLY, WE ALSO TOLD THE STORY OF THE BRIDGE THROUGH THE EYES OF THOSE WHO WERE ACTUALLY WORKING ON IT, THE SKILLED TRADES PEOPLE WHO WENT OUT THERE DAY IN AND DAY OUT AND WORKED ON THIS WHAT REALLY IS A LEGACY PROJECT.

WE'RE ONE OF ONLY TWO ENTITIES TO HAVE 24-HOUR ACCESS TO THIS BRIDGE.

WOW.

IT WAS US AND HOMELAND SECURITY.

AND ONCE AGAIN, YOU WANT TO TAKE AND SEIZE THE MOMENT.

AND WE DID.

AND WHAT WE DID IS WE FOLLOWED FOUR MEMBERS OF OUR TEAM FROM THE CARPENTERS AND FOLLOWED THEM FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSET.

THE REASON WHY IS THE IMPACT OF THIS BRIDGE.

THIS BRIDGE IS A PROFOUND IMPACT FROM WHAT IT WAS IN 1955 TO WHAT IT IS NOW.

IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN BE DONE.

ALSO, ITS MAGNITUDE ON THE REGION'S ECONOMY OF BRIDGING TOGETHER BETWEEN WEST CHESTER AND ROCKLAND COUNTIES.

AND WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS TAKE THIS MOMENT TO HAVE THE MEMBERS WORKING ON THAT BRIDGE TELL THEIR STORY, AND NOT ONLY THE STORY OF WHAT THEY DO DAY IN AND DAY OUT UNDER SUCH UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT ALSO HOW THEY FELT IN THE PRIDE THAT THEY CARRIED WITH THEM, AND THE IMPACT THAT IT HAD ON THEIR DAILY LIVES.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY YOU WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FROM THIS FILM?

I THINK IT IS THE PRIDE THAT THE MEMBERS WHO WENT OUT THERE DAY IN AND DAY OUT.

WE DRIVE ACROSS A BRIDGE THAT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

AND GENERALLY SPEAKING, WE'RE PROBABLY WHITE KNUCKLING IT.

WE'RE PROBABLY THINKING IN OUR HEAD GREAT, WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO BE 20 MINUTES LATE.

WE'RE NOT THINKING ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CREATING A 22nd CENTURY MASTERPIECE THAT IS AFFECTING NOT ONLY THE ECONOMY, THE STATE, BUT ALSO THEIR INDIVIDUAL LIVES.

AND IN THE DOCUMENTARY WE ALSO GO BACK.

WE FOUND TWO MEMBERS WHO WORKED ON THE ORIGINAL BRIDGE.

WOW.

GOING BACK TO THE EARLY 1950S FROM '52 TO '55.

THEY'RE NOT WORKING ON THE NEW BRIDGE.

THEY ARE NOT.

BY THE WAY, I THINK THEY COULD.

OKAY.

THEY TALKED ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE AS WELL.

NOW BACK IN THE EARLY '50s, SAFETY WASN'T THE PARAMOUNT ISSUE.

NO.

IT WAS GETTING IT DONE.

OF COURSE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS FILM.

IT'S REALLY GREAT.

AND AGAIN, AS YOU SAID, YOU EITHER CAPTURE HISTORY OR YOU MISS HISTORY.

YEAH, I THINK WE'VE CAPTURED IT.

IT CAN BE FOUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

ALL RIGHT.

CONGRATULATIONS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON 'REBUILDING HISTORY: THREE MILES ACROSS THE HUDSON,' VISIT US ON METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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