Sunday, December 19, 2010

Working on Saturday

btw. 72nd & 73rd streets - looking south

Workers from SSK Constructors (a joint venture of Schiavone Construction, J.F. Shea Construction, and Kiewit Infrastructure) were hard at work when I walked past their job site on Saturday afternoon.

SSK won the contract to build the underground cavern and associated tunnels for the new 72nd Street station with a bid of about $447 million.

The circular structure in the street, in the image above, is the 69th Street access shaft. This shaft, which was blasted to a depth of 60 feet by the earlier contractor (S3 Tunnel Constructors), will provide the contractor with access to the to-be-constructed underground station cavern.

The yellow machine shown above is a partially constructed Liebherr HS 885 crawler crane. (the boom has not yet been attached.)

73rd - looking S

A view of the shaft site, from the north.

According to the MTA's Construction Update web page, controlled blasting at this location was to start last week.

btw. 70th & 69th - looking W

The worker shown here grinding a piece of steel.

btw. 69th & 70th - looking NW

This is an image of the other access shaft, which is located just north of 69th Street.

69th - looking N

The MTA signage at this location is a bit confusing.

The sign on the left talks about a Spring of 2011 completion date and the signage on the right talks about a completion date in the Fall of 2013.

What is not said is that work on the 72nd Street station, in and around this location, is scheduled to continue until early 2015.

btw. 69th & 70th

The worker in this image is using a manual technique known as shielded metal arc welding.

Note - if you happen to come across a worker who is welding do NOT look at the electric arc. The brightness of the weld area can cause inflammation of the cornea and can burn the retina of the eyes. (I took this set of pictures using the variable angle display on my camera, so I never looked directly at the arc.)


The worker is seen here wearing a welding helmet to protect his eyes, face and neck from the ultraviolet and infrared light of the arc, the sparks, and the heat.


Another view of the welder at work, from the other side of the street.

btw. 72nd & 71st - looking NE

A set of workers can be seen here working just below street level.

btw. 82nd & 83rd - looking N

A view of the job site north of 82nd Street. There was no active work taking place at this site on Saturday afternoon.

the SW corner of 83rd Street

Manikins, dressed in black, seemingly watching over the work site at this corner.

near the NW corner of 83rd Street

A collection of ConEd electrical cables under Second Avenue.

87th - looking S

The trench here is being dug for a replacement sewer line.

btw. 91st & 92nd - looking W

A small dog, dressed for the holiday, waits by the fence in front of the work site.

btw. 95th & 96th - looking W

A section of new 48-inch sewer pipe.

between 96th & 97th - looking W

Utility relocation work in this block of Second Avenue continues.

btw. 96th & 97th - looking S

A different view of the same location.

btw. 91st & 92nd - looking W

The Christmas wreath mounted on the side of this Liebherr crane was made by a young friend of the workers.


In this close-up shot you can see that the wreath has been decorated with cardboard cutouts in the shape of a Liebherr crane and the cutterhead of the TBM.


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

A hearing for 2nd Ave. businesses, but what response?
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd Ave. Sagas - 12/8/10

"Bing Pitches Greater Economic Impact Of Second Avenue Subway Construction"
By Edward-Isaac Dovere
City Hall - 12/9/10

"Learning the Hard Way About Life Across Town"
By Michael M. Grynbaum
The New York Times - 12/16/10

PB Podcast: Women Engineers at PB (3:50)
by Parsons Brinckerhoff
A podcast highlighting the roll of women engineers on the Second Avenue subway project.

"Living, Briefly, Amid Noise and Dust" (2:54)
By Michael M. Brynbaum
The New York Times - 12/16/10

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Committee Hearing Video

NY State Senate Committee Holds Hearing
to Review Second Avenue Subway Project

This past Tuesday, November 30th, the New York State Senate Standing Committee On Corporations, Authorities and Commissions held a public hearing in New York City to review the Second Avenue subway project.

The hearing, which was chaired by Senator Bill Perkins, brought together a full cast of characters in one room - the politicians (Senators Bill Perkins, Liz Krueger, Daniel Squadron, and José Serrano), MTA executive management, and a select list of affected business owners and residents on Second Avenue.

The hearing went largely unnoticed by the media, but to my surprise I found a full video recording of the meeting on the NYSenate Uncut channel on YouTube.

The raw video of the hearing has been embedded in 3 parts below.

I've added a listing of time stamps to allow the viewer to jump to the testimony that interests him or her - since 2 1/2 hours is clearly longer than the attention span of most people.

The video provides a unique perspective on the project as well as the workings of the NY State Senate.

Part 1 (1:38:09)

0:00:00 - 0:11:45
Opening remarks from Senator Bill Perkins

0:11:50 - 0:21:40
Testimony of Jay Walder
Chairman and CEO of the MTA

0:22:00 - 0:38:00
Testimony of Michael Horodniceanu
President of MTA Capital Construction

0:38:00 - 1:00:35
Questions from Senator Perkins

1:00:35 - 1:03:55
Remarks from Senator Serano

1:03:55 - 1:16:00
Questions from Senator Krueger

1:16:20 - 1:27:10
Questions from Senator Squadron

1:27:10 - end
Additional remarks and questions by Senator Perkins

Part 2 (58m)

0:00 - 3:15
Testimony from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
as read by her representative

3:15 - 7:30
Testimony from NY City Council Member Daniel Garodnick
as read by his representative David Kimball-Stanley

7:30 - 11:30

13:50 - 15:15
Testimony of Joe Pecora
owner of Delizia 92 Pizzeria and
President of the Second Avenue Business Assoc. (SABA)

15:25 - 17:45
Testimony of Mallory Spain
Exec. VP of East 86th Street Business Assoc.

17:45 - 24:35
Testimony of Mr. Shin (sp?)
Owner of Eve's Nails at 1776 Second Avenue

24:35 - 33:55
Testimony of Norman Siegel, Esq.

33:55 - end

Part 3 (1hr)

1:55 - 9:35
Testimony of Rita Popper
President of the Knickerbocker Plaza Tenants Assoc.

9:45 - 11:20
Testimony of Elmerad (?)
Store owner on Second Avenue

11:30 - 19:30
Testimony of Marcello Rochini
Owners of Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria

19:30 - 23:45
Testimony from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
as read by his representative of Steven Corson

23:55 - 30:10
Testimony of a small business owner
on Second Avenue

33:10 - 36:15
Testimony of Jill Lovett
Resident on Second Avenue

36:15 - 41:25
Testimony of Gilbert Salvotar
Resident on Second Avenue

41:25 - 45:45
Testimony of Lee Yong Wong
Business owner on Second Avenue

45:45 - 49:00
Testimony of Alisa Coleman
Board President of 245 East 72nd Street

50:40 - 56:20
Testimony of Hunter Armstrong
Executive Director of Civitas


In other news --

Yorkshire Towers LP and the Yorkshire Towers Tenants Association (a.k.a. the owner and tenants association of the residential building at 305-315 East 86th Street) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Transit Administration and the MTA last week.

The plaintiffs in this case, which was filed in U.S. District Court on November 30th, seek the enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the release of specific records and materials related to the mid-block subway entrances that are planned to be located in front of their building.

A full copy of the 16-page lawsuit can be found in Benjamin Kabak's piece, "Residents of 86th St. file suit over SAS entrances," on the blog, 2nd Ave. Sagas.


Last Reported Location of the TBM
btw. 74th and 75th streets
as of Tuesday, November 30th

TBM Run No. 1 (west tunnel)
92nd Street to 65th Street
7,200 linear feet
40 foot starter tunnel
4,626 feet mined w/TBM to date
2,534 feet to run

November TBM Mining Data:
Distance mined: 889 linear feet
TBM mining days: 20
Avg. distance per day: 44.45 feet


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

"MTA Vows To Clean Up Act On Second Avenue Subway" (1:53)
Reported by John Mancini
NY1 - 11/30/10

Walder talks 2nd Ave. Subway
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 12/1/2010

Residents on 86th St. file suit over SAS entrances
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 12/1/2010

"Aid Needed for 2nd Ave. Business, But How?"
By Dan Rivoli
OurTown - 12/1/10

As part of a new section labeled,
"Federal Transit Administration Links":

FTA Technical Memorandum 1
Design Changes: Reduction in length of the crossover cavern south of 70th Street, changes in the construction technique for the curved tunnels south of 66th Street, modifications to the project's phasing for the portion of the main line tunnels south of 68th Street, modifications to the 72nd Street, modifications to 86th Street, and modifications to 96th Street [stations].

FTA Technical Memorandum 2
Design Changes: 96th Street Ancillary facility relocation

FTA Technical Memorandum 3
Changes at Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street Station

FTA Technical Memorandum 4
Alignment Change between 63rd and 96th Streets

FTA Technical Memorandum 5
Changes at Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street Station

FTA Technical Memorandum 6
69th Street Ancillary Facility

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fixing up 2nd Avenue

MTA works to make good on its promise
to fix up the neighborhood on Second Avenue.

East 92nd Street, SE corner - looking N

The image above may appear to be unremarkable. However, it shows exactly what the MTA has in mind when they say they intend to "improve the pedestrian experience on Second Avenue."

In this image you can see:

- all new fencing, which is as straight as an arrow;
- newly painted storefront rolling gate doors;
- an unobstructed 7 foot 9 foot wide sidewalk; and
- freshly painted and straight crosswalk lines.

When you consider what much of this area has endured in the past three years, these are rather dramatic changes.

It was only several months ago, in this same spot, that a vagrant regularly staked out this corner under what was then a littered and unlit sidewalk shed. (I'm not exactly sure if the vagrant is still around as much or whether he has now shifted to a new area.)

92nd Street, SE corner - looking S

And a view in the other direction, showing an area of the launch box construction site that has not been yet been revamped.

btw. 92nd & 93rd streets - looking S

Another view of the incredibly straight fence that has been erected in this block.

93rd Street, SE corner - looking NW

Up on 93rd Street, they've recently painted the trim on the Sandhog's "Hog House" (their changing and shower rooms) the color blue.

94th Street, NE corner - looking W

Yet another example of newly painted and very straight crosswalk lines.


91st Street, SE corner - looking SW

Work continues in and around 91st Street. Here, the MTA contractors prepare to freeze the ground in advance of the 2nd TBM run on the east side of Second Avenue (projected for early 2011).

91st Street - looking N

A maze of insulated pipes and tubes can be seen in the image above.


97th Street, 50 feet west of the NW corner - looking S

In this area of the job site, the MTA's contractors continue their work to stabilize the north foundation of 1873 Second Avenue with a technique called Jet Grouting.

This lot is the location where Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 96th Street station will eventually be built.


When I walked by this location last Saturday, this machine was being used to remove bucket loads of what looked like a slurry material, from the foundation of the north side of the building at 1873 Second Avenue.


1815 Second Avenue (near the SW corner of 94th)
(former Rainbow Hardware location)

At this location, the MTA's contractor E.E. Cruz-Tully JV is demolishing part of the interior of this building to make way for the construction of the Entrance No. 1 for the 96th Street station.

btw. 85th & 86th Streets - looking E

The newly planted trees near the historic Heidelberg Restaurant would suggest that utility relocation work on the east side of this block is now complete. This is big news for the residents who live in this area.

84th Street - looking S

Down in the 80's, the MTA's contractor J. D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc. is continuing their work to relocate area utility lines, ducts and pipes.

83rd Street - looking N

A view of their active work zone between 83rd and 84th streets. In this image, the contractor is excavating a new trench for Empire City Subway.

82nd Street - NE corner

Someone told me that this type of engraved street marking was installed so that riders of the former IRT Second Avenue Line would know which street they were crossing. (Maybe a reader of this blog can confirm this?)


The MTA recently released (on their web site) a copy of the most recent MTA Capital Construction report to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway Project.

The report, which is linked below, covers the period July - September 2010.

MTA Capital Construction Report to the FTA - 3Q2010
Second Avenue Subway, Phase 1

Page 18 of the report.

Of particular note is this statement:
"The SAS Integrated Project Schedule (IPS) continues to forecast an SAS Revenue Service Date (RSD) of 30-Dec-2016 with 168 calendar days of schedule contingency."

When the project started back in 2007, the MTA had planned for 186 calendar days of schedule contingency in the overall plan. (Note: Fewer days available for schedule contingency reduces the likelihood that this new subway service will go into service by December 2016.)

But at some point in October, after the 3Q2010 report was published, the project's schedule contingency was reduced to 138 days.

One could wonder if the slower than expected progress of the TBM, due to the poor rock conditions under Second Avenue, will continue to erode the available schedule contingency days in the plan.

The report also showed that the projected "substantial completion" date of each of the active SAS contracts has slipped by an additional 1-2 months since the last quarterly report to the FTA.

Another notable point in the report is the significant number of accidents in and around the 86th Street utility relocation job site. To quote the report:
The OSHA recordable incidents ratio for accidents on this contract is 8.9.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics/ National Industry Average is 4.2.

The OSHA Lost Time Accidents ratio for this contract is 8.9.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics/National Industry Average is 2.2.
The other contract sites on Second Avenue appear to be safer places to work, according to the statistics quoted in the report.


It was reported last week that the tunnel boring machine approaching 76th Street.

The TBM mining operations just north of this area have been impacted by two major factors: (1) the poor quality of the rock in this area, and (2) a significant amount of gushing ground water (underground streams).


Community Board 8 issued the following letter, via e-mail, a few days ago:

The letter states that the MTA, with the help of Community Board 8, is soliciting comments regarding the materials and finishes of the planned Ancillary Facilities for the Second Avenue Subway.

Here a link to the presentation that is referenced in the letter:

And here is a link that will direct you to the page on the MTA's web site were comments can be submitted:
(select MTA Service = Planning Studies // Second Avenue Subway)

Comment can also be sent via e-mail to

Comments are due by December 15, 2010 early January, 2011.


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

Notice of Limitation on Claims Against
Proposed Public Transportation Projects
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT
Federal Register Volume 75, Number 224 - 11/22/10
Pages 71181-71182
A notice announcing final environmental actions taken by the FTA for the Second Avenue Subway.

Report of the Lieutenant Governor on
New York State’s Transportation Infrastructure

As prepared by Richard Ravitch,
Lt. Governor of the State of New York

Note in particular this section of the report:
The $28 billion, five-year MTA Plan set out in October, 2009 faces a gap of at least $10 billion for its final three years. The MTA is in the middle of its largest system expansion in more than four decades, and there is now legitimate worry that the MTA will have great difficulty in finding resources sufficient to complete its current slate of mega-projects, including the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway and the Long Island Railroad’s East Side Access Project.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Drilling on 2nd Avenue

When I walked by the work site this past Saturday, SSK Constructors (which is a joint venture of Schiavone Construction, J.F. Shea Construction, and Kiewit Infrastructure Corp) and its subcontractor were hard at work drilling out core samples of the rock under Second Avenue.

The core samples are being taken in anticipation of the start of mining operations for the 72nd Street station cavern.

69th Street
A mobile drilling rig (the blue machine) is shown in this image.

69th Street - looking N
The liquid (which is called a flushing medium) in the pan is used to cool the drilling bit, lubricate the core, remove the loose bits of rock, and help stabilize the hole. It is some combination of water, soluble oil and/or drilling mud.

A closeup view of the shaft (called a core drill string) which is seen turning at a high rate of speed in this image.

70rd Street - looking S
A second drilling rig in this work zone can be seen in the center of the image.

Note the sound level meter that has been mounted on the wooden pole on the left in this image. Its interesting to see that permanent sound level meters have been setup by the MTA's contractor at this particular work site. Permanent sound level meters allow the contractor to measure and record the sound level over a long period of time.

btw. 72nd & 73rd streets - looking NW
A third drilling rig is shown in this image, working just south of 73rd Street.

The wooden boxes shown on the left in this shot (below the taxi) are used to transport the core samples from the job site.

84th Street - looking S (west side of 2nd Avenue shown)
A view of the work site at this location. Workers here are in the process of replacing a 48" sewer main.

87th Street - looking S
Work at this location on Second Avenue is taking place in the center of the street now. Traffic lanes can be seen on the right and the left of the active work zone.

91st Street - looking N
A view of the freeze pipes that have been installed just north of 91st Street. Each of these pipes will soon be connected the so called freeze plant that has been setup on 92nd Street.

A closer view of the top of one of the freeze pipes.

93rd Street - looking S
This hand drawn sign was apparently installed in the past week or so.

btw. 94th & 95th Streets - looking S
The MTA's contractor S3 Tunnel Constructors has recently started to paint their work site structures blue, as can be seen in this image.

I have to assume that this is part of the MTA's announced plan to "improve the pedestrian experience" on Second Avenue.

btw. 94th & 95th Streets
Late afternoon shadows cast across a small section of the work site.


The MTA opened the bids for the
63rd Street Station Rehabilitation contract
on 11/4/10. (this is Contract C-26006).

The low bid, of $176,450,000, was submitted by Judlau Contracting Inc., of College Point, NY.

Here's a copy of the bid results that were posted on the MTA's web site:

Bid Number: C-26006
Bid Open Date: 11/4/2010

Vendor Name / Bid Amount
Bid Total Count: 6


In other procurement news, the MTA has now advertised the 86th Street Station Cavern Mining and Heavy Civil Structure contract (as Solicitation C-26008) using an Invitation for bid (IFB) process. This bid is currently scheduled to be opened on 12/21/10

The IFB Notice for Solicitation C-26008 says:
This Contract includes the 86th Street Station cavern and mine shafts and adits for the entrances, elevator shaft,electrical shafts, ancillaries, cross passages, underpinning of existing structures and cut and cover excavation;

the work will be performed after a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) tunnel (constructed under Contract C-26002) has been bored through the station;

perform building demolition work at 83rd and at 86th Streets in advance of work on the construction of entrances and ancillaries;

underpin existing buildings adjacent to the ancillaries and Entrance 1;

mine the 86th St. Station cavern, and mine shafts and adits for the entrances, ancillaries, and cross passages;

install temporary rock support systems as work proceeds;

install the permanent structural liner in the cavern, entrances, and ancillaries;

the permanent structural work includes construction of the station invert slab, exterior walls, and roof arch in the cavern;

supply permanent plumbing, electrical, architectural precast concrete elements and architectural embedments and incorporate these into the cast concrete;

construct the structural shell exteriors of Ancillary 1 and Entrance 1 at 83rd St. and Ancillary 2 and Entrance 2 at 86th Street;

the permanent structure from station invert level to top of ground level; supply and install temporary mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems including ventilation, drainage and lighting as necessary to conduct the Work and restore the surface of Second Avenue and cross streets which also includes the restoration of roads, sidewalks, and soft and hard landscaping.


The New York State Senate Standing Committees On Corporations, Authorities and Commissions has announced, with this Notice of Public Hearing, that they will meet in New York City on November 30th at 1 p.m. to review the Second Avenue Subway project.


Last Reported Location of the TBM
btw. 77th and 78th streets
as of Friday, October 29th

TBM Run No. 1 (west tunnel)
92nd Street to 65th Street
7,200 linear feet
40 foot starter tunnel
3,737 feet mined w/TBM to date
3,423 feet to run

October 2010 TBM Mining Data:
Distance mined: 757 linear feet
TBM mining days: 21
Avg. distance per day: 36 feet

I've been told that the TBM production was below the planned 50-feet-per-day goal due to poor geological conditions along this section. The poor rock conditions require the contractor to setup steel rings in the tunnel as the TBM progresses forward.


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

"2nd Ave. Subway Affecting Old Buildings" (5:15)
Reported by Ernie Anastos
Fox 5 News - 10/16/10
Includes a lengthy debate between Benjamin Kabak, of the 2nd Ave. Sagas subway blog, and Marcelo Ronchini, the owner of Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria.

"2nd Avenue Subway Explained to First Graders"
By Michael Grynbaum
The New York Times - 10/31/10

"The Second Avenue Subway - It's a Man Thing"
By Kathleeenwng
Letter from New York - 10/21/10

"State Senate to Hold Subway Hearing"
By Dan Rivoli
Our Town - 11/11/10


The time-lapse video embedded below documents a 3 1/2 days light rail construction project -- in 12 minutes and 50 seconds.

The video obviously has nothing to do with the Second Avenue subway project. I posted it here because I thought that it was neat way to show just how much work goes into a complex construction project.

"Church and 30th St. San Francisco MUNI Construction"
By Ken Murphy / via Vimeo

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Improving Second Avenue

The MTA decides that it is time to clean up Second Avenue

This surprising announcement, which was announced on the MTA's web site over the weekend, describes a wide-scale overhaul of the MTA's work sites between 69th and 100th streets on Second Avenue.

In their announcement, the MTA said that they have created a "comprehensive set of 'good neighbor' standards to upgrade the physical conditions around the construction site to improve the pedestrian experience, and keep businesses and residences fully accessible."

Some of the planned improvements include:
  • Implementing "way-finding" signage for stores that is uniform, legible and clean
  • Ensuring sidewalks are in good condition without holes, cracks, and trip hazards
  • Replacing bent/worn fencing
  • Painting all barriers
  • Maintaining sidewalks, crosswalks, and safe sight lines for pedestrians/vehicles
  • Maintaining full access to businesses/residences

According to the NY Post, the president of MTA Capital Construction, Michael Horodniceanu, ordered the makeover after hearing many complaints from business owners and residents during several trips to the construction site. "These are simple things that will make people happy, so people can actually be in that area and not hate every day they live there," Mr. Horodniceanu told The Post.

According to Tom Namako's story in The Post, the MTA will begin by upgrading the area between East 92nd and East 93rd streets.

The MTA posted these two images on their web site as examples of what the sidewalks in the construction zone might look like before and after the refurbishment.

Courtesy of the MTA
btw. 93rd and 94th streets - east side - looking S
Existing conditions

Courtesy of the MTA
Planned (artist's rendering)
i.e. what the area might look like.

What is somewhat odd is that this initiative was not raised or discussed at the recent Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting on October 12th. This would have been a good opportunity for the MTA to obtain community input on the aesthetic changes it would find most valuable.


Ironically, the MTA's announcement came on the same weekend that a group of affected Second Avenue residents and business owners staged a rally to protest the conditions in and around the construction zone.

The rally was held on 91st Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues. The protesters cited, among other complaints, 'three years of neglect and delay' and the absence of real government support.

A few images from the rally are shown below:

Marcelo Ronchini, the owner of Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria at 1750 Second Avenue, got things started at about 1:30 p.m.


Joe Pecora, the owner of Delizia's Ristorante & Pizza on the SE corner of 92nd Street and Second Avenue.

Ernie Raftopoulos, the apron-clad owner of the 3 Decker restaurant at 1746 Second Avenue.

Peter Yoo, owner of Buddha BBeeQ restaurant

Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney and former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

I asked a number of people at the rally why they thought the MTA had decided to take action to clean up the work site now, three and a half years after the start of construction. The most interesting answers were:
  • Perhaps the MTA was reacting to the news that the residents and business owners in the affected area would be holding a rally, for the media, to protests the conditions;
  • Possibly the MTA realized that they needed take a fresh look at what they were doing after the The New York Times ran this front page story on October 5th;
  • Maybe this issue will be brought up at next week's MTA board meeting and the management at MTA Capital Construction wanted to be able to announce something prior to the meeting of the board;
  • Or perhaps Mayor Bloomberg is moving into Gracie Mansion.

Here are a few notable media reports from the rally:

"2nd Avenue subway construction protested" (2:18)
Reported by Jeff Pegues
WABC-TV - 10/25/10

"Subway Construction Affecting Bottom Line, Business Owners Say" (1:50)
Reported by Tina Redwine
NY1 - 10/24/10

"Second Avenue Subway Construction Hurting Local Businesses"
By Catherine Yang
The Epoch Times - 10/25/10

Along Second Ave., merchants protest as MTA pledges improvements
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 10/26/10

"2nd Ave. Subway Affecting Old Buildings" (5:15)
Reported by Ernie Anastos
Fox 5 News - 10/26/10
Includes a lengthy debate between the blogger Benjamin Kabak of 2nd Ave. Sagas and Marcelo Ronchini, the owner of Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria on Second Avenue.


In other news - construction work continues.

The following set of images was taken over the past two weekends, on the dates noted.


A new section of 30" gas main near 86th Street.

87th Street - looking S

Work continues on the same 30" gas main in front of the Food Emporium.

91st Street - looking N

The contractors continue their work in this area as they prepare for freezing the ground south of the launch box. (see the diagram below)

According to the MTA, the ground must be frozen in this location because the rock to be mined is unexpectedly poor. (Freezing makes the ground totally solid so the Tunnel Boring Machine [TBM] can bore right through it.)

Failing to freeze the ground could increase the likelihood of gripper problems at the face of the TBM. And because the sound rock cover above the tunnel area was found to be insufficient, this could increase the risk of tunnel collapse during the mining operation.

The contractors plan to start freezing the ground in this area by the end of November, so that it is solidly frozen before the TBM starts mining the east tunnel in early 2011.

The approved cost for the ground freeze operation was reported on the MTA's web site to be $6,582,000.

Source: CB8 SAS Task Force Meeting Presentation - 10/12/10


Just south of 91st Street - looking N


A close-up shot of the now buried freeze pipes.


Sections of aluminum pipe for the ground freeze.



A view the liquid ammonia ground freeze plant that has been set up on 92nd Street, just east of Second Avenue.

93rd Street - NE Corner - looking E

Preliminary work at the site of Ancillary Building No. 1 has now started.

btw. 93rd and 94th

A surveyor working on the project recently left these notations on the one of the buildings next to where Ancillary Building No. 1 will be constructed, on the NE corner of 93rd and Second Avenue. The exposed beam here appears to be made of cast iron.

95th - looking N

A view of the EE Cruz / Tully construction yard that is located on the west side of Second Avenue. Eventually, this location will be transformed into Entrance No. 3 for the 92nd Street station.

btw. 96th and 97th streets

A industrial flow meter.

btw. 96th and 97th street - looking W

The contractors at this location are in the process of excavating a new sewer trench on the east side of the avenue. A narrow sidewalk alongside the buildings allow pedestrians to access the shops in this area.

97th Street - NW corner - looking S

Work continues at the future location of Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 92nd Street station.


A close-up view of the auger bit shown in the preceding image.

97th street - west side - looking N

A new sewer trench with a section of the new 48" pipe installed.


The following set of images was included as part of the presentation that S3 Tunnel Constructors made at last Tuesday's meeting of the Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force.

The photographer here is looking south towards the front of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM).

Don't worry - the tracks shown here are not intended for the new subway line. They are for the muck train that transports the rock from the TBM mining operation back to the launch box in the 90s.

This is an image of a locomotive that is hauling a set of muck cars out of the rear of the TBM.

The passing switch shown in this image (which is located just south of the launch box) allows one muck train to pass another.

The muck cars are moved into the launch box and then they are positioned over a transfer pit.

The contents of each muck car are then dumped onto a set of conveyor belts that transport the crushed rock to the so-called muck bin, pictured below.

The muck bin, which is located near the north end of the launch box, is a location where the crushed rock is stored until it can be transported to street level for loading into trucks.

If you wish to view a PDF copy of the full set of presentations that was made at last week's Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting, please click on this link:

CB8 Task Force Presentation: Construction Updates, Ancillary Design Review, 86th Street Station Ancillary 2, 72nd Street Station Entrance 3 (elevators), Ancillary Facilities Equipment Screens, Ancillary Color Study - 10/12/10
(Note that this large PDF file make take some time to load.)


Here's a copy of the Second Avenue Subway MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Report that was posted on the MTA's web site in anticipation of Monday's meeting of the MTA Board Committees.

MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Report
Pages 33-40 (Second Avenue Subway)
(Note that this report is part of a large PDF document on the MTA's web site, so it may take some time to load.)

This interesting report was prepared by the MTA's independent engineer McKissack+Delcan.

The report says that the project is on schedule to meet the December 2016 revenue service date and the project is on budget.

The reports listed three specific issues that, "may lead to cost increases or schedule delays on individual milestones of contracts". They are:

Quoting from the report...

TBM Mining Tunnel No. 1
The original plan to finish TBM Run #1, with the extension to 65th St was January 15, 2011. The revised date based on a mining rate of 43 feet per day is February 15, 2011. Recent 20-day average has been 44.4 feet per day.
If TBM Run #1 is delayed beyond February 15, 2011, critical path float will be used. TBM mining must average 43 feet per day to meet this date.
Contractor has instituted a special scheduled maintenance system to minimize breakdowns or slowdowns of the conveyor system and muck removal operations.

Litigation 72nd Street Station
Litigation contesting MTA's compliance with the environmental commitments made in the project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been initiated by the owners of a residential building located adjacent to the planned site of the 69th Street 72nd St ancillary facility for the 72nd Street Station.
FTA has determined that the proposed changes to the design of this facility are consistent with the project EIS. A court hearing on this matter is scheduled for January 2011.
The work impacted by the litigation has been segregated as an option to provide time for resolving the legal action.

Fragile Buildings along Second Avenue
Older, fragile buildings near the site of station and ancillary building (e.g. vent plant) excavation, many with pre-existing deficiencies, may require remediation as Second Avenue construction continues.
Temporary resident relocations and exterior and interior remediation work required in the area of the future 96 Street Station. Potential for similar impacts at the sites of the future 72nd Street and 86t Street Stations and the 63rd Street
Station. Costs to date have been within estimates and are manageable within available contingency funding.
Survey of fragile buildings was segregated and advanced independent of future construction contract awards in order for remedial work, if necessary, to be completed in advanced of actual construction start dates, Surveys will be completed by the end of 2010. Contractors to do remedial work, if necessary, have been identified. Both these steps will allow MTACC to progress and fund any needed work so that it minimizes adverse impacts to cost and schedule.


The following additional Second Avenue subway contract has just entered the procurement process within the MTA:

Solicitation Number C-26009
Tracks, Traction Power, Signal and CommunicationsSolicitation Notice (RFP) - 10/11/10
Current Opening/Due Date: 11/16/10

It's interesting to see just how many different communications and signal systems are needed to run today's NYC subway system.

Here's the list, from the RFP:

SONET and Ethernet fiber systems
Public address
Electronic Customer Information Signs and Evacuation Systems
Closed Circuit Television Systems
Office Telephone Systems
Emergency Telephone Systems
Public Telephone Systems
Intercom Systems (Public Help Point Intercom and Private Intercom)
Emergency Alarm System
Time Clock System
Radio Wireless System
Fire Alarm system
Intrusion Access Control
Supervisory Control and Data Access
Structured Cable LAN system
Booth Communications
Various miscellaneous NYCT standard communications systems.


Last Reported Location of the TBM
btw. 79th and 80th streets
as of Tuesday, October 12th

TBM Run No. 1 (west tunnel)
92nd Street to 65th Street
7,200 linear feet
40 foot starter tunnel
3,169 feet mined w/TBM to date
3,991 feet to run

September TBM Mining Data:
Distance mined: 1,053 linear feet
TBM mining days: 21
Avg. distance per day: 50.14 feet


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

"Subway Work on 2nd Avenue Hobbles Stores"
- multimedia map
By Joseph Berger
The New York Times - 10/5/10

"Readers Tell of More Second Avenue Subway Woes"
By Joseph Berger
The New York Times - 10/5/10

"Businesses cope with 2nd. Ave. Subway Construction" (1:59)
WABC-TV - 10/5/10

"Mistake in Second Avenue Subway Work Cuts Gas Off"
By Joseph Berger
The New York Times - 10/14/10

"Second Avenue Subway Offers Wealth Of Lessons" (2:05)
By John Mancini
NY1 - 10/16/10

Along Second Ave., building a better ancillary structure
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 10/20/10

"After temporary eviction due to Second Ave. Subway work, residents to return home"
By Patrick Egan
The Real Deal - 10/22/10

"Subway salvation - Prettying-up for 2nd Ave. dig"
By Tom Namako
New York Post - 10/23/10