Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blast Rocks Second Avenue

Blast at 2nd Ave. Subway Site
on 72nd Street Goes Wrong

Updated, 1/31/2013
A copy of the FDNY Incident Report for this event can be found on this link:
Incident # 1-0383-0

Updated, 9/13/12:
The MTA announced today that the investigation of the August 21st blasting incident has been completed, and that a series of enhanced safety measures and actions have been implemented on the Second Avenue Subway 72nd Street Station Cavern Mining contract.

Blasting will resume first in the station cavern on Friday, September 14th, and will begin the following week at the ancillary shaft where the August 21st incident occurred.

Further details can be found on this link:
Summary Report of Blast #73 Ancillary No. 2
MTA - 9/13/12

Updated, 8/26/12:
Additional images from the scene last Tuesday, including a panorama shot, and an updated listing of news links has been added to the posting.

Updated, 8/23/12:
MTA Chairman and CEO Lhota announced today that work at the 72nd Street station site will resume next Monday, with no blasting planned until the MTA is convinced that its contractors can proceed safely.

Updated, 8/22/12:
Additional information related to the MTA's ongoing investigation of Tuesday's surface explosion can be found at the end of the posting.

Photo Credit: John Wilson
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com

"Second Ave. subway blast sends debris eight stories high"
Reported by Shayna Jacobs , Kerry Burke and Bill Hutchinson
The Daily News - 8/21/12
(Additional dramatic photos of the blast can be viewed by clicking on the image above.)

For this story, a picture is worth a thousand words.

At approximately 12:45 p.m. today a controlled blast at the corner of 72nd Street and Second Avenue sent rock and debris flying into the air above Second Avenue. A FDNY Assistant Chief on the scene said that no one was injured and that damage to adjacent property was minimal.

Various reports indicate that the MTA's contractor, SSK Constructors JV (*), was blasting a section of rock at this location to make room for an escalator well for one of the future entrances to the new 72nd Street station.

(*) SSK Constructors is a joint venture of Schiavone Construction, J.F. Shea Construction, and Kiewit Infrastructure Corp.

The New York Times story on the blast included a report that a resident in the neighborhood said that she did not hear the a warning signal prior to the explosion.  But a source that I talked to late this afternoon told me that his doorman said that he did hear the warning signal before the blast was fired.

MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota released the following statement this evening:
“What happened at the Second Avenue Subway construction site today is completely unacceptable. The MTA is investigating what went wrong and will not resume work at the 72nd Street site until we receive a full explanation for what happened and a plan to make sure it does not happen again.
While I am thankful that no one was injured today, I fully understand why neighbors of the construction site are upset. I am, too. The safety of the community is the MTA’s utmost priority. We will continue working with the community to ensure their concerns are heard and acted upon.”

The Wall Street Journal reported this evening that, "Fire Department officials at the scene initially said they believed that the contractor, SSK Constructors, might have used too much explosive material. But the MTA's chief spokesman, Adam Lisberg, later said there was "no indication" excess explosives caused the accident."

Work at the the MTA's 72nd Street station work site has been suspended pending an investigation.


The following set of images, provide to me by J. Puglisi, a local resident, show the scene on and above the street moments after the blast.

Courtesy of J. Puglisi
72nd Street and 2nd Avenue, NE corner - looking W

Moments after the blast workers quickly work to clear rock and other debris from the street.

Courtesy of J. Puglisi

Courtesy of J. Puglisi

Courtesy of J. Puglisi

Courtesy of J. Puglisi
(Click on the image for a large format panorama view of the scene.)

Courtesy of J. Puglisi

A view of NW corner of 72nd and Second, from above.

Note in particular the red truck near the top of the image, just to the right of the two fire trucks. This is one of the special trucks that is used to transport explosives to the work site each day.

Courtesy of J. Puglisi


And finally, here are two raw videos of the scene on Second Avenue right after the blast:

"Second avenue subway explosion"
By YouTube user carlybaldwinjersey
via YouTube
Video: (0:54)

This video was taken moment after the blast from a point near the SW corner of 72nd and 2nd.  The person holding the camera is looking east. 

"Second Avenue Subway Blast Aftermath"
By Wayne P
Video (1:20)
(Warning: This video contains language that some may find offensive.)

This video was shot from a point near the NE corner of 72nd and 2nd.  The person holding the camera is looking west.

Selected news reports on this story can be found below:

"Blast on Second Avenue Subway Project Shatters Windows Above Ground"
By Andy Newman and Vivian Yee
The New York Times - 8/21/12

Video: "Crews Survey Damage Caused By Second Ave. Subway Blast"
By Tina Redwine
NY1 News - 8/21/12
Video (2:00)

"Deep Blast, Big Mess"
By Ted Mann
The Wall Street Journal - 8/21/12

"Huge Second Avenue Subway Blast Rocks and Rattles Upper East Side"
By DNAinfo Staff
DNAInfo.com - 8/21/12

"Visitor Snaps the Second Ave. Explosion"
The Daily News - 8/21/12
Video (1:40)

An interesting interview with the John Wilson and his wife. Mr. Wilson was the person who shot the dramatic still images of the blast as it happened.

Update: Wed. 8/22/12

Initial Findings Released in 2nd Ave Subway Explosion Investigation
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - 8/22/12

Michael Horodniceanu, the president of MTA Capital Construction, spoke Wednesday afternoon to the press about preliminary findings from the MTA's ongoing investigation into Tuesday's surface explosion at a Second Avenue subway construction site.

Dr. Horodniceanu's statement, and the Q&A with the members of the press, can be viewed on this video link:

NY1 Online: MTA Capital Construction President Speaks On Second Avenue Subway Explosion
NY1 News - 8/22/12
Video (9:58)

Today's selected news reports follow:

"Unsecured Steel Plate Above Subway Blast Site ‘Opened Like a Trapdoor’ "
By Andy Newman
The New York Times - 8/22/12

"Second Ave. Subway Blast Stronger Than Expected, Officials Say"
By DNAInfo Staff
DNAinfo.com - 8/22/12

"Details emerge in 2nd Avenue subway explosion"
By N.J. Burkett
WABC/TV - 8/22/12
Video (2:49)

Update: Sun. 8/26/12

Selected news clips:

Video: Up Close - Second Avenue subway explosion
With Diana Williams/ABC News
WABC/TV - 8/26/12
Video (12:43)

An interview with Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, the President of MTA Capital Construction.

"Work to Resume at Site of Second Ave. Subway Mishap"
By Ted Mann
The Wall Street Journal - 8/23/12

"MTA blames Second Avenue subway explosion on contractor errors"
By Jennifer Fermino, Kirstan Conley and Don Kaplan
The New York Post - 8/23/12

1 comment:

Samay said...

If too much rock was blasted out, does that make it more difficult to build the escalator well?