Friday, June 18, 2010

SAS TBM Now in Full Production Mode

The TBM mining operation for the Second Avenue subway is now in full production mode, as of yesterday.

This means that the testing of the TBM is now complete, the kinks have been worked out, and the conveyor system (to get the mined rock out of the hole) is working as designed.

For the time being, the MTA's contractor, S3 Tunnel Constructors, will be mining the west tunnel (using the TBM) 5 days a week, 24 hours a day. It is expected that the TBM will move south under Second Avenue at a rate of about 50 linear feet per day.

Note that even though underground mining will take place at all hours, the vertical elevator will only be used during the authorized hours for working at street level. During those hours of the day when it cannot be used, rock from the mining operation (which is referred to as muck) will be stored underground in something called a muck bin until it can be brought up to street level to be trucked away.

As of today, the TBM is located about 50 feet below the road surface, at a point between 91st and 92nd streets - on the western side of Second Avenue. You can hear it faintly, when it is in operation, if you place your ear against the wall of a building that is nearby.


The images below show the muck, from the TBM mining operation, being loaded into a truck by the vertical elevator system. All of the images were taken this morning between 7:15 and 7:45 a.m.

The workers shown here are waiting for the arrival of an empty truck. While they wait, mined rock (muck) is being loaded into the hopper above.

The truck has just pulled into the loading area and a worker is about to open one of the two chutes.

Once the chute is opened, the truck quickly starts to fill. (I'd estimate that it takes no more than about 20-30 seconds to fill the truck.)

The workers have just closed the chute and they are preparing to climb into the rear of the truck to level the load.

This is a close-up shot of the muck that has just been loaded into the back of this truck. (The material if much finer than I thought it was going to be.)

The worker here, on the left, is using a shovel to level the load.

The truck has just pulled away so one guy gets left with the job of sweeping up the spillage, which was minimal.


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

As 2nd Ave. businesses suffer, MTA toes the 2016 line
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 6/15/10

MTACC Project Update - 2nd. Ave. Subway - June 2010
A two-page report to the
Capital Program Oversight Committee of the MTA Board of Directors
by MTA Capital Construction
June 2010
MTA CPOC Report - 2nd. Ave. Subway - June 2010
A nine-page report to the Capital Program Oversight Committee of
the MTA Board of Directors
by the MTA's Independent Engineer Consultant McKissack+Delcan JV
June 2010

I exported these two MTA reports to Scribd to make them easier to read. If you wish to read the full 76-page Capital Program Oversight Committee (CPOC) report you can find it on this web link:
MTA CPOC Report - June 2010 (47 Mb)

If you can't see these reports on your screen then click on the web link above the report.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Contract C-26007

An Update - 7/29/10
It was announced at the July 26th meeting of the MTA Board of Directors New York City Transit Committee meeting that the low bidder [OHL/Tully JV] for this contract has "declared an error" (i.e. a bid mistake) and apparently they have withdrawn their bid.

The MTA at this time is in the process of qualifying the 2nd lowest bidder, SSK Constructors JV, for this contract.

Sections of the prior posting that are no longer relevant have been crossed out.

An Update - 10/1/10
This contract was awarded to SSK Constructors JV on October 1, 2010.
The award amount was $431,180,260.


Here are the recently released bid results for Contract C-26007 - which is the first of two major contracts for the new Second Avenue subway 72nd Street station.

Bid Number: C-26007
Bid Open Date: 6/10/2010

Vendor Name: Bid Amount
1. OHL/TULLY CAVERN JV - $319,229,925
2. SSK CONSTRUCTORS JV - $447,180,260

Source: MTA Bid Results web page - Contract C-26007

This contract is for the demolition of existing buildings, relocation of utilities, station cavern mining/lining and other heavy civil work - for the 72nd Street station. (Further details can be found on this link to the Invitation For Bid Notice.)

In all likelihood the contract will be awarded to the low bidder, which is an entity known as OHL/Tully Cavern JV. The two parties of the joint venture (JV) appear to be the large Spanish-based construction company Obrascón Huarte Lain, S.A., and Tully Construction Co., Inc. of Flushing, New York.

The low bid came in at $319,229,925. Notably, this amount is about 50% LESS than the $649,300,000 that was allocated for this contract in the amended version of the MTA's 2005-2009 Capital Program Budget from July 2008.

Actual construction on this part of the project is currently scheduled to start later this summer.

The next contract to be put out to bid is Contract 3, the 63rd Street Station Upgrade, some time this summer.


A short note about the TBM mining of the west tunnel (Tunnel No. 1):

The TBM has NOT yet started to actively mine the 1st tunnel.

At the moment the TBM is currently in the initial mining phase where all of the components of the operation, including the machine and the conveyor, are being tested together.

Over the past few weeks, since the ceremonial launch on May 14th, the MTA's contractors have been working to complete the assembly of the TBM including the hydraulics, electrical and the conveyor system and then begin the process of "probing" to check the rock ahead that is about to be mined. (The probing operation, which is an integral part of the actual mining process, is done about every 80 feet, I'm told.)

The cutterhead of the TBM is currently just south of 92nd Street at a point that is 16 feet south of the rock face of the west starter tunnel. In other words, the TBM has mined 16 feet of rock during its initial testing phase.

When I asked one worker what was going on down there he said, "that they're working out a few kinks with the machine."

In some ways this delay should not be a great surprise. For the past two months or so, the contractors have been assembling a large and very complex piece of equipment. Everything must be set up just right and tested before they can start the first tunnel drive down Second Avenue.

The vertical conveyor (located between 92nd and 93rd streets) is also in the process of being tested and from what I saw this morning, it would appear to be ready to go.

A final note -- the MTA's most recent Second Avenue Subway Construction Look Ahead schedule says that the tunnel boring machine will be "activated" between June 8th and June 28th.

I, for one, would be willing to bet that the TBM will start to actively bore the first tunnel in the next week or two.

Let's hope so.


In other news, here's the winning entry from the Second Avenue Business Association's (SABA) "Take Your Best Shot" photo contest:

"The Deconstruction of Construction with a Side of Snow"
© Galo A. Delgado II/The Photo Blog
Used with Permission

The image was taken by Mr. Delgado from the 14th floor of the Knickerbocker Plaza building at 1751 Second Avenue (between 91st and 92nd streets.)

The photographer extended his camera out his window using a tripod and opened the shutter for a 13 second exposure.

The second, third and fourth place entries in the contest can be found on this link to the SABA website.


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

"MTA: First phase of Second Ave. subway on track"
By Jeremy Smerd
Crain's New York Business - 6/14/10

"Businesses Affected by Second Avenue Subway Construction Demand Money from MTA"
By Gabriela Resto-Montero - 6/14/10

"Second Avenue Subway construction shuttering outdoor cafes"
By Heather Haddon
amNY - 6/14/10

"Winning Shutterbug"
By Dan Rivoli
Our Town - 6/9/10

Sunday, June 6, 2010

An Update

Courtesy of JSL

This is an aerial shot of the vertical elevator superstructure, which is also known as the muck tower, that has been setup between 92nd and 93rd streets on Second Avenue.

Rock from the TBM mining operation will be transported (via a conveyor belt) to the top of the tower. The rock will then be dumped onto another conveyor belt (shown on the left) that will move the rock to a hopper. (the square object on the left in the image).

The rock will then be dumped (by the truck load) into a waiting truck under the hopper.

This photograph (and the two others from JSL below) was taken from an apartment on the NW corner of The Waterford, a residential building located at 300 East 93rd Street.

near the SW corner of East 93rd - looking E

This is a side view of the vertical elevator superstructure.

The structure was partially covered with plywood sheets over the past few weeks. I would guess that this was done to prevent stray pieces of rock from falling onto the passing traffic.

The hopper, shown on the left, can be clearly seen in this shot.

Courtesy of JSL

In this close-up shot you can see workers on the top of the muck tower working on the assembly of the mechanism.

7:35 a.m. - 6/2/10
Courtesy of JSL
Left-click on the image to view a 1,600 x 281 pixel version of the photo, or you can find a high-resolution (4,647 x 815 pixel) version on this link to my Flickr page.

This incredible stitched image allows you to view the entire TBM launch box work site on 2nd Avenue - from 91st to 95th streets.

The corners of the launch box has been highlighted in blue in the image above. (In case you were wondering, the dimensions of the launch box are 815' (L) x 56' (W) x 63' (Deep).

The glory hole on the left [just south of East 92nd Street] is in front of Delizia's Pizzeria. All of the TBM parts were lowered into the launch box through this hole.

The vertical elevator superstructure can be seen in the middle of the image and the so-called Hog House (where the sand hogs can change and shower) is located just north of East 93rd Street.

East 93rd - looking SW

There is a small garden on the SE corner of East 93rd Street and 2nd Avenue. The vertical elevator superstructure can be seen through the trees.


This sign has been posted on the fence that surrounds the construction yard that is located on the the SW corner of East 96th Street and 2nd Avenue.

East 97th Street - NE corner - looking SW

There's a lot of work taking place now on the site of the old Century Lumber Yard. Workers at this location are currently working to improve the soil conditions at this location using a technique know as soil grouting.

Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 96th Street station will eventually be built at this location.

btw. East 95th and 96th streets - looking S
(east side of the avenue)

Workers here continue the labor intensive process of relocating utility lines.

97th Street - NE corner - looking SW

This section of new pipe is for a replacement gas main or gas service line. It is sitting here because it is being worked on by a welder.

This is a close-up shot of one of the retroreflector targets, which are also know as prisms. (You can now find these targets on almost all of the buildings that abut the Second Avenue subway construction zones.) These targets allow the contractors to monitor the stability of the building in real-time.

Further information on how retroreflectors are used on this project can be found on my earlier posting "Retroreflectors Everywhere".


East 92nd - NE corner

All of the glory holes, including this one, were covered when I took this picture since no work was taking place on this day. The holes are covered to eliminate the possibility that anyone or anything could fall through the holes when the work site is unattended.

btw. 91st and 92nd streets

A box full of cutter disks (for the TBM) wait to be lowered down into the hold. The TBM will go through a lot of these disks as it digs through 12,836 linear feet of Manhattan Schist.

East 91st Street - looking N

btw. East 92nd & 93rd streets

The white box shown in this image contains a check-in/check-in system for everyone who enters the work area below - as required by OSHA Regulation 1926.800(c).

When a worker enters the launch box he/she must turn over the tag that hangs by their name on the board so that it shows the red side of the tag.

When they leave the underground work area they must turn their tag over again, so it shows the green side of the tag.

near the SW corner of East 94th & 2nd

At this location (the former location of Rainbow Hardware and the future location of entrance No. 1 of the 96th Street station) the MTA has posted architectural renderings of the new Second Avenue subway stations. (I walk by this location on most days, on the way to work, and quite often I see people who have stopped to studying the plans.)

The drawing on the right was prepared by 1st grade students of P.S. 290.

93rd Street - SE corner - looking N

The lot across the street here, which is 1800 Second Avenue, is the future location of Ancillary Building No. 1 for the 96th Street station.

The lot, which had been the home for a number of temporary S3 Tunnel Constructors project offices, has recently been cleared.

btw. 93rd & 94th - looking E

Four of the offices that were located on the lot of 93rd & 2nd have now been moved to a location on 2nd Avenue just north of the Bagel Express shop.


East 69th Street - looking N

This is a view of the 69th Street shaft location. Workers here are using controlled blasting to open a shaft down through the bedrock to the future 72nd Street station.

East 70th Street - near the SE corner - looking W

This is an example of a clean and tidy work area.

East 83rd Street - SE corner - looking E

In this image you can see a vast assortment of utility lines that are in the process of being relocated. The lines are being moved in preparation for the future construction of the 86th Street station.


(left-click on the image for a view that is readable.)
Source: MTACC Quarterly Report to the FTA - 1Q2010 - p.17

This is a copy of the latest "Schedule and Proposed Schedule" for the project. The chart was included as part of the MTA Capital Construction's Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Report Report to the FTA - for 1Q2010.

The report shows, as detailed below, that the forecasted completion date for the 3 active contracts have slipped.

Contract 1: Launch box, tunnels and shafts
Completion Date (F):11/2011 (per 1Q2010 report to the FTA)
8/2011 (4Q2009 report)
7/2011 (3Q2009 report)

Contract C5A: 86th Street Open Cuts & Utilities
Completion Date (F):
8/2011 (per 1Q2010 report to the FTA)
4/2011 (4Q2009 report)
1/2011 (3Q2009 report)

Contract C2A - 96th Street Site Work & Heavy Civil
Completion Data (F):7/2013 (per 1Q2010 report to the FTA)
4/2013 (4Q2009 report)
2/2013 (3Q2009 report)

The report includes the following text regarding the delays:
"The IPS [Integrated Project Schedule] is undergoing changes to mitigate potential delays incurred from Contract 1, TBM Tunneling, and Contract 5A, 86th St Station Utility Relocations, which occurred during this quarter. Mitigation measures include incorporation of proposed contract changes that extends the west tunnel TBM Drive from the 72nd Street Station North Cross-over to 65th Street, reducing the drill and blast mining scope by the C4B 72nd Street Station Cavern Contract; transfer of the C1 contract’s tunnel concrete lining scope to the C5B 86th Station Mining and Lining Contract; and modifications to 86th Street Station Ancillary #2 Structure. The proposed changes are under review and will be implemented during the 2nd quarter of 2010."
The report also states that the MTA's forcasted Revenue Service Date for Phase I of the Second Avenue subway is still December 30, 2016.

The MTA must also be concerned by the fact that $13,140,352 of the $16,851,250 contingency budget for Contract 1. This amounts to 78% of the Contract 1 contingency budget, with well over a year of work left on this contract.


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

Quarterly Report Report to the FTA
Second Avenue Subway, Phase 1 - 1Q2010

MTA Capital Construction

Responses to CB 8 Questions - March 2010.pdf (8 pages)
Responses to questions submitted by the public at the
Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force Meeting
March 2010

Under Notices & Posters:


Under Businesses that have closed:

E-Plus Japanese & Asian Fusion
Closed mid-May 2010
(after being open for just one month)
The sign on the door, which is dated 5/16/10, says that they have closed for renovations - but there is no indication that any renovation work is taking place at this location.