WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The New York State Thruway Authority chairman announced Wednesday that the man who oversaw rebuilding effort following the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse has been tapped as project director for the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

Peter Sanderson has been appointed to lead a team of design and construction experts for the new span slated to open in 2016.

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“The project director will be responsible for keeping the New NY Bridge on schedule and within budget, and Peter Sanderson is an outstanding choice for this role because he has extensive experience and a proven track record,” Thruway chairman Howard Milstein said. “Hiring an experienced project director is necessary and expected for a project of this size and complexity, and is generally viewed as an industry best practice.”

Sanderson was project manager on the project to replace the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis. The project was on a fast-tracked 14-month rebuilding schedule but opened to traffic three months ahead of schedule, the Thruway Authority said.

Sanderson has also been in charge of bridge projects in Maine and Missouri as part of his 40-year career, state officials said.

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The $3.1 billion Tappan Zee project is to replace an aging bridge across the Hudson River in the suburbs just north of New York City. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s optimistic that the federal government will grant a loan that could cover $2.9 billion of the cost.

Progress of the new bridge can be tracked at the new bridge’s official website by clicking here.

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