Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8, 2009

Here's a copy of a two-page Second Avenue Subway "Project Update" that was posted on the MTA's web site late last week.

The report is one small part of a 101-page package of material that was prepared for the November meeting of the MTA Board of Directors' Capital Construction, Planning and Real Estate committee meeting.

MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder wasted little time with his pledge to start making additional board materials available to the public on the MTA's web site, as part of his effort to make the organization a bit more transparent. One can only applaud these efforts.

(left-click on either image for a version that is readable)

Here are a few items from this report that I think are particular noteworthy:

The Cost for the Design Work:
The MTA has budgeted $ 445,000,000 as the cost to [just] design the Second Avenue subway -- an amount that is effectively 10% of the $4,451,000,000 budget for Phase I of the project. This seems to me like a staggering amount of money for the design and engineering work, but who am I to say ...

72nd Street and 86th Street Station Entrances:
The environmental process was completed for the proposed design changes for these two stations with the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Federal Transit Administration. (A copy of the FTA's determination can be found on this link.)

Century Lumber Yard Building:
Demolition of this building, to make way for the construction of an ancillary building for the project, is expect to begin at the end of November. (this building is located on the SW corner of 97th Street and 2nd Avenue.)

Unfunded Budget Amount:
Page 2 of the report shows a budgeted amount of $1.487 Billion for the Second Avenue Subway that has not yet been funded. This amount is part of the MTA's proposed 2010-2014 Capital Program, and all of this amount is scheduled to be provided by "local sources," which I assume means New York State.

As reported on 2nd Ave. Sagas in early October, Governor Paterson has called the MTA's 2010-2014 Capital Program "simply unaffordable given New York’s current fiscal condition." One has to wonder if there is any chance that construction could be held up, or even stopped, because of the current fiscal crisis - which would be just like what happened to the project back in the 1970s.

- - -

In these 3 images the MTA's contractors are continuing their work to stabilize the building on the NE corner of 92nd and 2nd, in preparation for the start of the Controlled Blasting effort. On this day they were installing a piece of steel beam near the top corner of the building.

92nd, btw. 1st and 2nd - looking W

92nd, SE corner - looking N

92nd, SW corner - looking NE

- - -

The Controlled Blasting inside the TBM launch box apparently started this past Wednesday, November 4th, when more than one person in the neighborhood told me that they heard the sound of the warning horns during the day -- but oddly these same people said that they never heard the sound of the actual blast.

It could be that the contractors and the FDNY were just testing the procedures (without the use of explosives) or possibly they were using only a very small amount of explosives, in order to check all of the instrumentation that has been setup on the buildings in the area.

A reliable source has told me they plan to start start with a small amounts of explosives, so as to err on the side of caution. Then as they become more confident they will increase the level of the explosive charges.

- - -

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

Construction Creeps Downtown
Impact is worst in East 90s, due to excavations for tunnel boring machine

Our Town - 10/7/09

Second Avenue Business Association (SABA)
a new web link to their site

A copy of the Letter of Interest (LOI) for SAS Contract 4B [C-26007]:
72nd Street Station Station Cavern Mining/Lining & Heavy Civil Work

New Section:
"Historical Information"
with these six links:

Second Avenue Subway Construction in the 1970s
The Launch Box - 9/21/09

"Fallen Transit:
The Loss of Rapid Transit on New York's Second Avenue"
The Third Rail

The 2nd Avenue El

Video: "The 51st State [Episode 24] Transportation in New York:
"The Saga of the 2nd Avenue Subway" (8:00)
Thirteen/WNET - 1975

Video: "The End of the Third Avenue El" - (2:39)
YouTube - 1955

Video: "3rd Ave. El" (10:38)
YouTube - 1954


Anonymous said...

Remember that design & engineering work includes stuff like figuring out where all the existing utilities are, figuring out how to reroute them, figuring out how to connect them in, figuring out where building foundations are and how to avoid them, et cetera et cetera.... I'm not surprised it's 10% of the budget.

The Loosh said...

I'm not surprised that engineering and design is 10% of the budget either. Generally design budgets are at least 7% for a standard building, and this is an extraordinarily complex project with a massive team to coordinate, so this seems about in lines. It will take tens or hundreds of thousands of hours to fully design and engineer.

Anonymous said...

lots of fire and police activity this morning Tues, 10th. any news?

Ben said...

Looks like there might have been an accident down inside the TBM launch box first thing this morning.

When I walked by the site at 7.40 AM there were fire trucks parked at 92nd and 2nd and I saw a number of firemen coming up the ladders from the work area down below.

The ambulance on the scene pulled away at about 7.45 AM with its sirens on.

I have no idea what happened, at the moment.