Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fifth Anniversary Comes and Goes

With scant (if any) celebration, one more project milestone was recently passed: the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this phase of 2nd Avenue subway construction.

With the M.T.A.'s estimated completion date still set for December 2016, Phase I of the project is scheduled to be in-service in just over four years.

While the vast majority of New Yorkers are not affected by the subway construction, most people I talk to seem to be well aware of it.

I believe this is the result of three things: the media's focus on the mostly negative aspects of the work; the M.T.A.'s renewed efforts to better engage residents and businesses in the affected neighborhoods; and blogs such as 2nd Ave. Sagas and The Launch Box.

The work now seems to have a more predictable flow; workers and materials are arriving and departing each day with regularity, and residents are coping as best they can.

With full funding for Phase I finally now secure, it seems in all likelihood that residents of the Upper East Side will see subway service running under Second Avenue in just a few short years.

Now on to today's posting
of recent images from Second Avenue --

In front of 1594 Second Avenue (btw. 83rd and 84th streets)

It's safe to say that most of the merchants on Second Avenue are not thrilled with the construction site that exists just outside their store front windows.

However, some merchants have taken matters into their own hands, and have creatively and effectively attempted to improve "the view".

Firenze Ristorante, an Italian restaurant at 1594 Second Avenue, has done something really unique.  They have planted a vertical garden *on* the fence in front of their location.

You have to give them credit for doing what they can to give their customers a more attractive view while dining.

In front of 1596 Second Avenue (btw. 83rd and 84th streets)

Right next door, at Big Daddy's, you have an example of what some other merchants have done -- they have hung up advertising on the fence that basically blocks the view of the construction.

In front of 303 83rd Street - looking W

Archstone Camargue, an apartment building at the corner of 83rd and Second, planted shrubs to enhance the view from their front door.


Now let's jump back uptown to have a closer look at what's going on there.

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking S

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking W

In front of the Metropolitan Hospital, the contractor E.E. Cruz/Tully is installing secant piles as they work to construct the perimeter walls for the new tunnel between the north end of the launch box (near 95th Street) and the existing tunnel (near 99th Street.)

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking W

This is an image of an M.T.A. bus on Second Avenue. It was taken while looking through a yellow protective screen -- approximately 6 feet square -- that is usually used to shield passersby from the arc light produced by street-level welding operations.

97th Street, SE corner

The above would appear to be a large set of concrete test specimens -- approximately 75 tubes about 5" in diameter and 6" in height.

97th Street, SE corner

A closeup view of one of the cylinders.

96th Street - looking N

A view looking north, from ground level.

95th Street, NW corner - looking N

This crew, which happened to be the only crew I saw working on this Saturday, is in the process of assembling a tied rebar cage. 

By the time you read this posting, this particular cage will probably have been finished and used already to strengthen another new section of slurry wall along Second Avenue.

In front of 1804 Second Avenue (btw. 93rd and 94th) - looking S

At first, this would appear to be a rather unremarkable view of part of the work site...but look more closely. There is something special in this image.

In the left side of the image, you can see an iron support beam that forms the SW corner of the building located at 1804 Second Avenue.


The Makers' Mark (shown above) at the bottom of the beam says that it was made by Geo. H Toop [iron foundery] on 91st Street and 1st Avenue.

A closer look at this NYC (ca. 1898) map, from the digital collections of the New York Public Library, shows an iron foundry that was located near 406 East 91st Street, which is just to the east of 1st Avenue.

If you pause and think about it for a moment, it's rather amazing that this iron beam has stood at this location for more than one hundred years. 

93rd Street, NE corner - looking NE

Construction equipment sitting idle on this Saturday afternoon.

92nd Street - looking S

This is a shot taken in front of the so-called glory hole, which is covered for the weekend, near 92nd Street.

The crane that was sitting at this location for about the last three years has now been removed. In its place now stands a leased crane from Bay Crane, a firm based in Long Island City, NY.

96th Street, NW corner - looking N
(Formerly a Chase Bank branch)

At this location, the contractor is in the process of demolishing what was a Chase Bank branch.  In time, this location will become Ancillary Building No. 2 for the new 86th Street Station.

In front of 245 East 83rd Street - looking SE

A piece of construction equipment.  (I like how the apartment building is framed under the boom.)

In front of 245 East 83rd - looking E

The crane shown here is sitting in the hole that has now been excavated at the NW corner of 83rd and Second Avenue.  This is the location that will become the site of Ancillary Building No.2 for the 86th Street station.

The "daylight" that you see underneath Second Avenue is coming from the excavated area at the NE corner of 83rd and Second.

83rd Street, just west of the SW corner - looking N

For a long time I've looked at the indentations in this building and wondered what they were.  It occurred to me during this photo shoot that that these indentations are actually the locations of former fireplaces.

83rd Street, SW corner - looking E

A view of the muck handling system that is being set up at this location.

The equipment shown here will be used to lift muck ("shot rock" and debris) from the blasting area below ground to the surface where it will be trucked away.

83rd Street, SE corner - looking S

A view of some of the air monitoring equipment that is in use at the work site.

72nd Street, NE corner - looking S

Across the street here you can see the remnants of what is left of the Brick Oven Pizza and Grill Restaurant.  The building at this location is being demolished to make room for Entrance No. 3 for the future 72nd Street station.

63rd and Third Avenue, just east of the SW corner - looking NE

An unspectacular image of the work site at this location.

92nd Street, SE corner - looking S

Now jumping back to 92nd Street...

An image of some advertising that Delizia's Pizzeria has painted on the side wall of its building.

Back in March, I posted a link to a copy a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report called the "Project Management Oversight Contractor Monthly Report, Second Avenue Subway, Phase I".  Most of the report I posted at that time, from January 2012, had been redacted (blacked out) for reasons that I do not know.

Apparently the DOT has had a change of heart and almost all of this report is now available for anyone to view.

The newly available reports can now be viewed on this link:

Project Management Oversight Contractor Monthly Report
Second Avenue Subway Phase 1
Prepared by Urban Engineers of New York for
the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
March 2012

Of particular interest is page 24 of the February 2012 report.  On this page, the MTA in-service date for Phase I is December 30, 2016. However, the so-called "Enterprise Level Project Execution Plan (ELPEP), reflecting median level of risk mitigation" in-service date is February 28, 2018.

An finally, here are a few recent images from various MTA sources:

MTA Capital Construction

A view of what would appear to one of the tunnels between the 72nd Street cavern and the existing 63rd Street/Lexington Avenue station.

MTA Capital Construction

An image from inside the 72nd Street station cavern.  This would appear to be the north end of the cavern.

MTA Capital Construction

Again, another view inside the 72nd Street station cavern.

"Actual blast from 2nd ave tunnel"
By Dieselmmc
via YouTube (1:02)

An unofficial video of a recent blast inside the 72nd Street station cavern.

According to the caption, 40 cases of dynamite (with 59 sticks per case) were used in the blast shown in this video.

Additional blasting videos from this YouTube user can be found on this link.

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

Quarterly Report for 1Q2012
Second Avenue Subway, Phase I
MTA Capital Construction
May 2012 - 37 pages

Progress Report on Second Avenue Subway
McKissack+Delcan JV report to the
Capital Program Oversight Committee of the
MTA Board of Directors
May 2012

"What Lies Beneath: The Second Avenue Subway Construction"
By Michelle Young
untapped new york

"Famous Artists Tapped for Second Avenue Subway Station Installations"
By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo.com - 5/11/12

"No Light at the End of the Tunnel"
By by James Kaminsky
Manhattan Magazine

High Above Manhattan

An report from high above Manhattan, at the top of the 1 World Trade Center:

"In a Crane at 1,100 Feet, There Is No Room for Error"
By Charle V. Bagai
The New York Times

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bids Opened for 96th St Station
Finishes Contract

Updated 6/25/12
The MTA has formally awarded this contract to the joint venture of E.E. Cruz and Company and Tully Construction Company Inc.

Updated 5/23/12
The low bid for this contact was entered by a joint venture of E.E. Cruz/Tully Construction, not [just] E.E. Cruz as was originally noted in the original posting.

The source of the error was this misleading entry in the MTA's Bid Results web site: Bid Results - RFQ Number 16762.


The bids for the 96th Street Station Finishes contract were opened by the MTA last week. The low bidder was E.E. Cruz / Tully Construction with a bid of of $324.6 million.

This is the eighth of ten contracts for the construction of Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway.

96th Street and Second Avenue, SW corner
Artist's rendering of Entrance No. 3 for the
future 96th Street Station
Courtesy of MTA Capital Construction

Quoting from the MTA's Solicitation Notice for this contract:
The work under this project includes, but is not limited to the rehabilitation and retro-fit of the existing 99th - 105th Street Tunnel;

construction of invert slab and benches in the new existing 87th - 92nd Street Tunnels and in the northern section of the 97th - 99th Street Tunnel;

supply and installation of mechanical systems including HVAC work in the station and ancillaries, and tunnel ventilation systems in the adjacent tunnels;

supply and installation of electrical medium voltage and 120V systems including electrical distribution in the station and adjacent tunnel areas, uninterruptable power systems, and lighting and emergency lighting in the station and adjacent tunnels;

supply and installation of plumbing including the track drainage system, hot and cold water supply, sanitary and storm drainage and pump systems, and fire suppression;

supply and installation of elevators and escalators in the station and entrances; construction of the station platform and mezzanine levels, ancillaries and entrances;

construction of interior walls and rooms; installation of architectural finishes including floors, ceiling and wall treatments, signage, stairs, handrails and guardrails, and station elements including the Station Service Center, Dispatcher's Office, and Concession Booth;

construction of building exteriors including walls and roofing, and glazed 'store-fronts' and canopies at station entrances and ancillaries;
obtain all necessary permits;

maintain traffic in accordance with Maintenance and Protection of Traffic Requirements;

restore the surface of Second Avenue and adjacent streets;

remove temporary road deck installed in previous contracts; and

perform maintenance of the station.
(Notice how the phrase "Station Service Center" is used rather than the outdated term "token booth.")

E.E. Cruz/Tully is no stranger to the Second Avenue project. They , and Tully Construction, were awarded the contract for the 96th Station Heavy Civil and Structures contract back in May 2009.

The seven bids that were submitted for the 96th Street Station Finishes contact were as follows:

Contract C-26010
96th Street Station Entrance, Ancillary Buildings,
Finishes and MEP Equipment

Second Ave Subway Project
E.E. Cruz and Company Inc. / Tully - $324,600,000
Judlau Contracting Inc. - $332,281,000
Perini Corp. $349,759,000
Schiavone Construction Co., Inc. - $367,583,000
Citnalta Construction Corp. - $386,527,000
Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc. - $411,600,000
Granite Construction Northeast Ind. - $417,410,000

Source:  MTA Bid Results - RFQ Number 16762

Most of the bids for earlier contracts on this project were submitted by groups of construction companies acting in joint ventures (e.g. the contract for the Launch Box and TBM Tunnels was awarded to Skanska USA Civil, Schiavone Construction, and J.F. Shea Construction -- a joint venture under the name S3 Tunnel Constructors.)

It's interesting to note that the bids for this contract were submitted by individual companies rather than joint venture companies.


According to the December 2011 Integrated Project Schedule (found in MTA Capital Construction's 4Q2011 SAS Report), construction on this contract was set to begin at the end of April 2012.  This date must have been pushed back a few weeks; I could imagine that they are now waiting until the contract is formally awarded before they start work.

Construction of the new Second Avenue Subway 96th Street station is scheduled to be completed in about three years -- around July 2015.