Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009

9/1/09 at 7.35 AM
btw. 92nd & 93rd - looking E
Excavation of the TBM launch box started in early July, around the time that the contractors installed the last piece of the road decking.

Most of what they will remove is soil but there is a large section of bedrock (in the southern portion of the work zone) that will need to be broken up and removed too.

Back in June the MTA announced that they planned to take out the bedrock using a "controlled blasting" technique. But now any chance that blasting will be used has been delayed by concern over the stability of some of the buildings near 92nd street - in particular the residential buildings at 1768 and 1772 Second Avenue. (Both of these residential buildings were evacuated by the NYC Department of Buildings about eight weeks ago.)

The newspaper Our Town published an article, "2nd Ave. Subway Delays" (by Dan Rivoli) yesterday that addressed this issue in more detail. The article says that no blasting will take place until the two evacuated buildings are shored up, to the satisfaction of the Department of Buildings.

The NYC Fire Department's explosives unit also confirmed for me that no permits have been issued for blasting for the Second Avenue Subway. (as of 9/2/09)

So for the time being the contractors will [only] be able to use jackhammers to chip away at the bedrock below -- as you can clearly hear on most days, if you walk near the corner of 92nd and 2nd Avenue.

Traffic on 2nd Avenue wasn't stopped when I took this picture, even thought it may seem like it was. I just waited for the traffic light (on my left) to turn red before taking the picture.

In this shot you can get an idea just how far down the machine is "reaching" to scoop up a pile of soil and rocks. If I had to guess, I'd say that the floor level (at this location) is about 30 feet deep, at the moment.


92nd, SE corner
These two rocks were pulled out of the hole a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why they are sitting near the sidewalk - but maybe they need to be tested.

93rd - looking N
It's been a while since I last posted a set of new pictures on the blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to provide a few large format stitched images - so people can see what the site looks like at the moment.

(left-click on either image for a full view of these two stitched images.)

93rd - looking S

btw. 92nd & 93rd - looking S
Steel pipes with hoses attached to them have been laid along the east side of the work site, between 92nd and 94th.

This network of pipes, hoses and storage tanks is being used to remove any water may collect in the work area below. (e.g. rain water, water from old streams that were once in the area, and other ground water that may be present.)

same location - looking N

An example of the valve network that is used to regulate the flow in these pipes and hoses.

93rd, NE corner
Here the NYC Sanitation Department has installed a garbage drop-off box.

The only problem is that the slots in the side are a bit too small for the larger trash bags that some people use.

95th, near the SW corner
I was happy to stumble across this scene on my way home the other day. Here it looks like NYC has decided to move this tree, that is near the new work zone north of 95th, rather than cut it down.

- - -

A new set of contractors started work last month, in the area between 95th and 101th Streets, as part of Contract 2A of the project.

Over the next 43 months, or so, E.E. Cruz - Tully Construction Joint Venture will build a new tunnel that will connect the new 96th Street Station with the existing 2nd Avenue subway tunnel that ends at 101st Street (built in the 1970s), as well as many other sections of the new 96th Street station.

I found this logo of theirs on the side of a piece of equipment.

95th, in the plaza near the NW corner - looking N
Here the new contractors have setup a yard for their equipment.

Another view of the same yard. (Yes, it's basically the same view as the image above, but I liked the bike rack and the shadows in this image.)

96th, NW corner - looking E
The M15 bus stop, that was near this corner, has been moved to a location between 93rd and 94th.

96th, SE corner - looking E
Hundreds of sections of concrete conduit are lined up here, waiting to be used at the work site.

96th, NW corner - looking N
The sidewalk here has been reduced to a 7 foot width at this location.

between 96th and 97th, east side - looking N

- - -

Council Member Daniel Garodnick's office provided me with a copy of a letter (shown below) that the President of MTA Capital Construction sent to the East Side Coalition of Elected Officials, on July 27, 2009.

The letter addresses concerns that the Coalition of East Side Elected Officials have with the structural stability of the buildings alongside the Second Avenue Subway construction between 92nd and 96th Streets.

The MTA says, in this letter, that they documented the problems with buildings on 2nd Avenue, between 92nd and 95th Streets, before the work started in 2007 -- and that these problems were reported to the NYC Department of Buildings for their review.

They imply, in their letter, that the building at 1772 Second Avenue was evacuated by the DOB on 6/5/09 because the building owners did not resolve known structural problems with the building.

They drew the same conclusion with the building at 1768 Second Avenue, which was evacuated by the DOB on 6/29/09 -- i.e. the owner failed to maintain their building.

Then at the end of the letter the MTA says that they are looking to see if, "additional measures or instrumentation monitoring is required as construction progresses." (i.e. like the instrumentation that was documented in the posting "July 13, 2009 - Retroreflectors Everywhere.")

The MTA's letter was prompted by this letter (shown below) from the Coalition of East Side Elected Officials to the President of MTA Capital Construction and the Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the NYC Department of Buildings.

I'm told that the DOB has not reacted to this letter, as of 9/1/09.

And with this picture you get an idea just how much the building at 1768 Second Avenue (one of the building that the DOB evacuated) is leaning.

92nd, about 30 feet east of the NE corner - looking west
If you left-click on the image and compare the edge of the leaning building (on the right) with the windows of the apartment building (which is across 2nd Avenue) you can clearly see what's going on.

According the violation that was issued by the NYC Department of Buildings on 6/30/09, this structure is leaning to the north, approximately 18 inches out of plumb -- which is a lot!

- - -

The MTA announced on their web site that construction work will start in the area between 82nd and 87th Streets next week.

So with this new start the MTA will have contractors working in four separate work areas on Second Avenue:

69th to 73rd Streets: S3 Tunnel Constructors

82nd to 87th Streets: J. D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc.

91st to 96th Streets: S3 Tunnel Constructors

95th to 101st Streets: E.E. Cruz - Tully Construction JV

Details of the planned work in each of the 4 work areas, for the next 3 weeks, can be found on the MTA's "Construction Look Ahead" web page.

- - -

Here's a listing of the recent additions
to the right-hand column of The Launch Box

"NYC Public Advocate Gotbaum Calls on City,
State, and MTA to Assist Affected Business Owners"

Office of the Public Advocate for the City of New York. Press Release - 8/19/09

Businesses Along Second Avenue
Subway Continue to Struggle"

Epoch Times - 8/19/09

"City PA Calls For Business Aid Along Second Avenue" (2:00)
NY1 News - 8/18/09

Contract Packaging
(under the MTA Links section)
This new section includes an unofficial listing of each of the Second Avenue Subway Phase One contracts. The listing also includes publicly available details about each contract.

Announced completion dates for
Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway

This listing has now been updated -- with announced completion dates ranging from 2012 to 2018.

It also includes a listing of announced completion dates from the 1970s - when the MTA first attempted to build the Second Avenue Subway.

And the Store That Have Closed section
has been updated with the following changes:

1742 Second Avenue
Now under renovation

1751 Second Avenue
Closed in early August. (was the East Side Pharmacy)
Re-opened in late August as Best Pet Rx (a pet supply shop)

1760 Second Avenue
Now under renovation.

247 East 94th Street
Re-opened as Unisex Hair Salon

Also, at
303 East 92nd Street
A note on the door says that the Tony C. Laundromat & Dry Cleaners will be moving to 301 East 95th Street. (Their shop on 92nd Street was closed when the DOB ordered the evacuation of 1768 Second Avenue.)

And a final note:
I you want to add this blog to your list of
Favorites / Bookmarks be sure to use this link:

so you always land on the homepage of The Launch Box.


jmp said...

The MTA's Construction Look Ahead page refers to the "ground water control system," which I assume is the piping along the east side of the avenue. There are all sorts of uncharted/forgotten underground rivers running through Manhattan, not to mention that rain water has been going into the launch box all summer and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So, a system to remove that water as it appears is an obvious necessity.

I'm curious as to how deep the hole will need to be before they simply lower one or two of the large digging machines into the hole itself. From what I've seen, it won't be long before the hole is too deep for them to dig while sitting on top of the road surface. The delay in blasting may actually move that up, since they won't have to worry about getting the machines out of the way before a blast if there are no blasts.

Anonymous said...

Hey -- I wonder if you can find the announced completion dates from back in 1929 and 1945, the *first* two times they allocated money to build it? :-)

Ben said...

When/if I find references to earlier announced completion dates I'll add them to the site.