Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 3, 2009

92nd - looking N

Much progress has been made since my last set of daytime pictures back in early-November. The contractors have now decked over the west side of 2nd Avenue, from a point about 50' south of 92nd, up to the north edge of 93rd. This decking will form the temporary "roof" over the Launch Box.

I would imagine that before the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) can be built, down in the Launch Box, the contractors need to complete the installation of the slurry walls and decking all the way up to 95th street, on both the west and east sides of the 2nd avenue.

If I had to guess, I'd say that there's 12-18 months of work to do, building the Launch Box, before the TBM can to start it work drilling the tunnel down to 63rd street.

92nd - looking NW

This stone drilling rig arrived on the site back in late November.

I'm told that this machine is being used to drill holes in the bedrock, near the south end of the Launch Box. Once the holes are drilled the machine is then used to crack off chunks of bedrock.

It's my understanding that blasting is not allowed at this location due to the work site's close proximity to so many relatively old buildings.

btw. 91st and 92nd - looking E

I believe that this is the south end of Launch Box.

In time the contractors will need to create a flat vertical surface in the bedrock at this location, since the TBM probably needs a near flat surface to start drilling the new tunnel.

near 93rd, west side - looking NE

This is a good example of the removable decking that forms the roof of the Launch Box. From time to time the workers remove a section of the deck so that they can work underneath the deck. At this point I would guess that the hole here is about 15' deep.

Why do the workers need to get under the deck you might ask? Because there's lots of work that needs to be done, like securing the utility lines (underneath) to the deck beams.

btw. 92nd and 93rd - looking N

93rd - looking S

btw. 93rd and 94th

Workers have been excavating this area of the street for about 2 weeks now. Lots of rock is being broken up and removed at this location, before the deck beams and deck are installed.

About a week ago I watch them jack hammer out an old brick structure that looked to me like a support foundation from the old 2nd Avenue Elevated Railway.

near 95th street - looking S

At this point on the avenue the contractors are still constructing the slurry walls. (i.e. the're building the west wall of the Launch Box.)

95th - looking N

95th, NE corner - looking SW

A familiar view of the various cranes and drilling rigs on the site.

If you're interested in further information on the construction that is underway at the moment, click on this link to view the presentation that was made at Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting back on 10/28/08.

The next meeting of the CB8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force is scheduled for Thursday 01/08/09. Follow this link for further details.

A footnote:
My apologies for the relatively long period of time since my last set of images. My full-time day job, and other factors, have taken much of my spare time over the past 2 months.


Josh K. said...

Great photos. I've been enjoying your site for several months now. I'm an electrical engineer and a transit enthusiast from the New York area, so this project has caught my attention.

I had a thought about something that could give your photos more context. Something that I was taught in college to give a series of photos context was to just throw together a quick sketch, with numbered arrows for each photo showing the point the photo was taken from.

To save yourself time, as you'll probably be taking photos for quite a while at this rate of project progress, it might make sense to sketch a quick template in MS Paint of an intersection, or a series of intersections for each work area.

Just a thought. If you want I could probably bang it out in a few minutes during a lunch break.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the photo updates.

Ben said...


Thanks for the comments.

Yes, I think you're right that the photos could use a bit more context so the viewers of the blog get a better feeling how they fit together. (on the work site).

Let me see if I can figure something out, along the lines of your suggestion, for next time.


PS: You can contact me directly by using the e-mail that I have posted under the "view my complete profile" button on the right-hand column if you wish to send me an example of the template you have in mind.

jmp said...

I think they might be ready to start assembling the TBM in less than 12-18 months.

They last switched sides of the avenue back in mid-August. Since then, they've done almost all of the slurry wall construction on the west side of the avenue, and have almost completed the decking to the north end of the launch box area. When all's said and done, that process took about 5 months.

Yes, there's more prep work to be done under the newly installed decking before real digging can start, but seeing as that work doesn't require direct surface access, there's no reason it can't happen after traffic has been switched back to the west side. The next traffic switch, moving the construction zone to the east side of the avenue should be able to happen as soon as the decking is installed to the north end of the launch box.

Meanwhile, before the last switch, some slurry wall construction had already begun on the east side of the avenue. If it takes just as long on the next side of the street to go from the traffic switch to getting the decking installed, that decking should be in place by late summer.

By the time the latter part of that phase is underway (around May-June), with the last bits of decking going in around 94th-95th streets, there can be serious digging happening at the south end to prepare for the TBM to start its run.

After all, the whole point of using the decking is that it allows work to go on under the street without having to worry about the logistics of moving traffic around.

I'll be very interested to see what the MTA folks have to say the next time they give a status report to the community board. It seems that the MTA wasn't at the last meeting.

Anonymous said...

Hope you can get back to blogging some time... it's been over a month and I'm wondering if there's been any progress at all. :-/

Ben said...

I took a new set of images about a week ago, but I haven't posted them to the blog due to a software issue on my PC.

I will try to post the images this week -- using another computer. Sorry for the delay.

You can be sure that there is still a lot of work ongoing on the work site.


Nathan said...

I've been really enjoying your photos. I hope you can resolve the technical issues and continue documenting this project. Thanks.