Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blasting to Resume on 2nd Ave


Blasting is set to resume on Second Avenue, according to a notice (shown below) that was posted on the MTA's web site about a week ago.

The MTA's contractors will use a technique known as controlled blasting as they start the process to excavate the cavern that will be used for the new 72nd Street station.

Blasting will take place inside the two existing 60-foot deep access shafts that were mined by S3 Tunnel Constructors under another contract. These shafts are located just to the north of 69th and 72nd Streets.

According to the notice, the blasting will occur up to 5 times daily with each blast lasting no more than one minute.

(Click on the image above for a readable copy.)


69th Street - looking north

A number of new construction signs have now posted by the contractor on the fence line at this location.



This is a close-up shot of the small sticker on the front of the larger sign shown above.

The letters "SSK" stand for SSK Constructors Joint Venture (JV) - the winning bidder for the contract. The letters SSK in the name stands for the three companies that make up the JV: Schiavone Construction, J.F. Shea Construction, and Kiewit Infrastructure Corp.

69th Street, SW corner - looking NE

A street level view of the work site between 69th and 70th Streets.

If you look closely at the large Liebherr crawler crane in the image above, you can see that they have installed more than 100 tons of additional counterweights on the rear of the crane. This would suggest that they intend to do some very heavy lifting with this machine.


Here's a close-up shot of the counterweights.

btw. 72nd & 73rd streets - looking SW

This is a partial view of the steel decking that was covering the access shaft hole at this location when I walked by the location on a Sunday.

This decking, I believe, is placed over the hole when the work site is not active so that nothing falls into the shaft by accident.

71st Street - looking S

Newly installed ducts and pipes.

One could assume that this is only a temporary installation, for the duration of the construction. If they were for utilities, they would probably be buried deeper under the road surface.

83rd Street - looking N

This poster, which was in the window of Tony's DiNapoli Restaurant at 1606 Second Avenue, announces that their restaurant at this location has been closed.

The location, which was taken by the MTA using an eminent domain procedure, will eventually become entrance No. 1 for the new 86th Street station.


92nd Street, SE corner - looking E

This image shows a gray wall that has recently been setup in front of the ground freezing plant on 92nd Street.

Note the orange windsock above the trailer that is behind the wall. The windsock allows people in the area to immediately determine the direction of the wind in the unlikely event that there is an ammonia leak once the plant becomes active. (If you're interested in this topic, I would recommend this excellent on-line presentation - "Ammonia Awareness and Safety".)

301 East 92nd Street

The entrance door to this apartment building has recently been replaced with a piece of plywood. Why this was done is not clear to me at this time.

Longtime followers of this project will recall that this particular building, on the NE corner of 92nd Street and Second Avenue, was evacuated by the Department of Buildings on 6/29/09. At that time the DOB had determined that the building was in danger of collapse. The building remains vacant to this day.

96th Street - looking N

A view of a portion of the active construction site just north of 96th Street. When I walked by the location last Sunday ConEd was on-site.


A close-up shot of a mechanically operated shutoff valve on a new section of gas main. The valve can be operated by turning the square nut that is shown in the image just below the label, with a special socket wrench.

97th Street, SW corner - looking W

A current view of the location where Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 96th Street station will be built. The mostly clear work site would suggest that the soil remediation work is probably now complete at this location.

97th Street - looking N

A simple view of the temporary pedestrian path at the north end of the work site.


MTA Capital Construction has recently redesigned the "Construction Look Ahead" web page for this project, as shown above. (Click on the image for a direct link to the current page on the MTA's web site.)

The new layout allows the readers to quickly locate the section of Second Avenue that is of immediate interest.


"Unused 63rd St subway tunnel, NYC"
Photo by Steve Duncan on

Most people don't realize it, but some of the tunnels that will be used for Phase I of the Second Avenue subway were built back in the 70s and 80s, and have never been used for revenue service.

The tunnel shown in this image connects the tracks on the north side of the existing 63rd Street / Lexington Avenue station with the 57th Street / 7th Avenue station.

For further information about this tunnel, follow this link to Joseph Brennan's web site Abandon Stations.


The MTA announced on their web site that the opening of the bids for the 86th Street Station Cavern Mining contract (referenced as Solicitation C-26008 by the MTA) has been pushed back to 2/4/11.

The bids for this contract were previously scheduled to be opened on 12/21/10.


Reported Location of the
Tunnel Boring Machine:
near 71st Street
as of Friday, December 31st

TBM Run No. 1 (west tunnel)
92nd Street to 65th Street
7,200 linear feet
40 foot starter tunnel
5,663 feet mined w/TBM to date
1,497 feet to run

December TBM Mining Data:
Distance mined: 1,337 linear feet
TBM mining days: 23
Avg. distance per day: 58 feet

The MTA's Construction Look Ahead web page (as of 1/11/11) says that the TBM is currently between 68th and 69 streets.

Sources tell me that the contractor (S3 Tunnel Constructors) expects to reach the planned end-point of TBM Run No. 1 (the west tunnel), at 65th Street, in about 10 days. (The remaining section of the west tunnel, from 65th Street to the bellmouth at 63rd Street will be mined using traditional methods. i.e. explosives.)

When the TBM reaches 65th Street they will start backing up the machine, all the way to the launch box at 92nd Street. Once the TBM is back in the launch box it will be jacked over the east side of the launch box and then they will commence mining TBM Run No. 2 (the east tunnel).


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

Governance Assessment of MTA Capital Program Mega Projects
Office of the MTA Inspector General

"Miracle On Second Avenue As MTA, Businesses Break Bread" (1:59)
By John Mancini
NY1 - 12/20/10

"Tony's Di Napoli Shuttered by Second Avenue Subway"
By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo - 1/5/11

"Straphangers Mixed on Second Avenue Line"
By Matt Draper
OurTown - 1/5/11

under Notices & Posters

"in a frenzy searching for something"
By Gregory Roach
A nice writeup, with pictures, about the Total Stations that are being used on the project.


December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse
By Michael Black

For those of you who may not have received enough snow last night... check out this 38 second time-lapse video of the December 2010 blizzard.

Yes, I know that this has nothing at all to do with the Second Avenue subway. I just think this is a great little video.

1 comment:

mdh said...

For weeks now, I've been trying to figure out what those newly-installed pipes are for -- I cannot figure it out. They are indeed very shallow and I agree that it's doubtful they are permanent. That being said, I also cannot figure out what they will be carrying... the southern end of the pipes stop at the 69th St. shaft and don't connect to anything (yet?).