Sunday, October 21, 2012

Behind the Blue Wall

With this posting, we're going to take a look behind the "blue wall" abutting the platform at the Lexington Av/63rd St station.

For those of you who may be new to this blog, the MTA's contractor Judlau Contracting is currently in the process of re-building parts of the Lexington Av/63rd St station in preparation for the extension of Q Line service to the Upper East Side.

This station was originally constructed during the mid-1970s by the Schiavone Construction Company. The south side of the station opened for service in October of 1989 when the 63rd Street Tunnel under the East River was finally completed.

The two-level station has an island platform on each level that will eventually enable passengers to transfer between the F Line (on the south side of the platform) and the Q Line (on the north side of the platform.)

The two diagrams below give you an idea of the construction in progress at this station.

Courtesy of Joseph Brennan

This unofficial diagram, from Joseph Brennan's "Abandoned Stations" web site, details the current track configuration in and around the Lexington Av/63rd St station.

MTA Capital Construction
Source: MTA SAS Newsletter VI - Lexington Av/63rd St Station Area

This diagram shows the locations of the four new station entrances, near 3rd Avenue, that will be opened when this phase of the project is complete.

A Google Maps view of this station can be found on this link:
SAS Phase I - Lexington Av/63rd St Station

Lexington Av/63rd St station - upper level

And here's the blue construction wall that passengers see today while waiting for an F Line train on the south side of this station.

Behind this wall is where most of the project work is taking place at the moment, as you will soon see.


In this image you are looking a section of station that was built in the 1970s.

The temporary gantry crane (on the ceiling) is being used to move new pieces of structural steel (shown in the foreground) around the underground construction site.

The current design for the east end of the station includes four large capacity, high-speed elevators, each operating at a speed of 200 ft/minute, to transport passengers between the mezzanine level and the station platforms below.

The original 1970s design called for escalators to be used between the mezzanine and the platforms at this end of station.


Looking down the shaft where the gantry crane is working.


I view looking down into the cavern below. Many of the original beams (that were to support escalators) at this end of the station must removed to make room for the new elevator shafts.


A new fan plant for ventilation of the station will be constructed in this portion of the station.


Much of the work taking place now involves demolition of earlier station structures to make room for new station structures.

Much of the demolition work is done by hand, as shown in this image, due to the close quarters within the station. On an average day 50-70 men and woman are working at this site.



This is a view from the north end of the upper level station platform, looking east. The illuminated NYCT marker signal denotes a point on this track that may never be passed.

Until recently the tracks on the north side of this station had been used for the storage of out-of-service trains.


This is the view looking east towards the demarcation point (a plywood wall) between the Lexington Av/63rd St station and the new tunnels that extends to Second Avenue.

The workers in this image are working on a form that will be used to build a new concrete tunnel wall. Concrete will be poured into the temporary form. Then, once the concrete is dry, the form will be removed.


A closer view of the plywood wall. (The door on the right s locked.)


I found a hole in the wall that was just large enough for the lens of my camera.

On the other side you can see the new tunnels leading to Second Avenue. The yellow material that you see in the distance is a vinyl waterproofing membrane that has been applied to the rock surface of the new tunnels.


A closer shot of the same view.


Now back in the station, on the upper level -- looking towards the west.

Note in particular how the contractor is using a dolly on the existing station tracks. The dolly is used to move heavy pieces of structural steel.


This view is also on the upper level, looking west.


Now we're down on the lower level of the station, looking east down one of the bellmouth tunnels. The bellmouth tunnels at the station were built in the 1970s in anticipation of the day when they would be connected to the new Second Avenue subway tunnels.

This is the same location where the tunnel boring machine "holed through" back in September 2011.


Another view from the same location, but this time looking west into the bowels of the construction site.

63rd and 3rd Avenue, NW corner - looking SE

This is a view from the surface - looking down into the hole that the contractor is using to access the work site below. The contractor is using this hole to lower steel and other supplies into the work site.


Another view of the same hole, looking north.

Note in particular the wall on the far (north) side of the hole - just below street level. Look closely and you can see that this wall is supported by three different materials - brick, concrete block, and stone.

Most likely the stone portion of the wall is the remnant of an ancient wall or foundation that that was present at this location before the construction started.


This is a shot of a sign that is hanging in the existing (west) portion of the station.

Work at the Lexington Av/63rd St station is currently scheduled to be completed in May 2014.

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

Second Avenue Subway Casting Call
MTA Press Release

MTA SAS Project Update
MTA Capital Construction
A presentation made by MTACC to the Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force

Additional Safety Measures Implemented on 72nd Street
MTA Press Release

Summary Report of Blast #73 Ancillary No. 2
Summary Report of August 21, 2012 Incident
MTA Capital Construction

"Going deep: A look inside NYC’s giant subway tunnels"
Reported by Willie Geist
The Today Show/NBC News
Video (5:12)

"Work Resumes On Section Of Second Ave. Subway"
Reported by Natasha Ghoneim
NY1 News
Video (2:00)

SAS Public Workshop Jun 2012 Follow-up Report
MTA Capital Construction
Sept 2012

MTA Second Avenue Subway Newsletters
Issue VI - October 2012:

Lexington Av/63rd St Station Area

72nd St Station Area

86th St Station Area

96th St Station Area

A Footonote:

My apologies for the long lapse since my last posting in August. During the past two months, I've been busy getting married and enjoying a honeymoon.

Thank you for your patience.



Samay said...

Congratulations! Glad to have you back

The Loosh said...

Congrats on your marriage!

A question - what is the bright yellow on the walls in the distance in the 12th photo down (the one you took through the "No Exit" door)

The Launch Box said...

The yellow material that you see in the 12th photo is a vinyl waterproofing membrane that has been applied to the tunnel walls.


Anonymous said...

congrats Ben,

Any word on any flooding/damage associated with storm?