SPACES Larger, lighter mezzanines allow for greater
circulation. (Photo courtesy of Slattery/GOTTLIEB)
As they renovate
their 100-year-old subway system, New York Citys transit
officials are taking a fresh look at how to improve functionality,
aesthetics and connectivity. Working beneath the surface,
within utilities and around trains that never stop operating,
contractors and engineers are improving 468 subway stations
within four boroughs, performing technical feats while keeping
the trains running.
The system celebrates its centennial
this year, which is also the final year of a $10-billion,
five-year capital improvement program. It includes $1.9 billion
for rehabilitating 64 stations, $607 million for replacing
40 miles of track, $2 billion for new cars, $650 million for
mechanical and ventilation equipment, $654 million for track
structures and $1 billion for signaling upgrades.
The project builds on efforts begun
in earnest 22 years ago. Work has evolved from cleansing graffiti
from neglected stations to making aesthetic and maintenance
improvements with a balance of engineering and architecture.
A reorganized New York City Transit Authority now emphasizes
a variety of contracting methods and engineering techniques.
In many cases, they must accommodate what are now regarded
as landmark structures.
"Stations in the past 20 years
have been landmarked, and design guidelines were created for
maintaining mosaics, artwork, et cetera," says Peter
Samton, partner with Gruzen Samton LLP, New York City. Using
guidelines developed by Rolf Ohlhausen of Ohlhausen DuBois
Architects, New York City, "the idea was not to demolish
everything, but to preserve and add on," he says. Now,
1% of each station projects budget is dedicated to artistic
elements, including exhibits from the Arts for Transit program
run by the citys Cultural Affairs Dept.
Former chief engineer Nagaraja emphasized clearing red
tape. (Photo by Aileen Cho for ENR)
Mysore Nagaraja, president of the
Metropolitan Transportation Authoritys Capital Construction
Co. and subway chief engineer from 1996-2003, says hazardous
material removal is a big issue. "The contractor would
find asbestos and other hazardous materials, and that would
delay the job," he says. "Now, all hazmat is taken
out before the contractor gets there."
Such improvements helped keep 75%
of the transit authoritys 1995-1999 capital program,
including 42 station jobs, on time and within budget, officials
say. Nagaraja says total claims during his seven-year tenure
amounted to $100 million on $7 billion of capital program
"The transit authority developed
a structure with principal engineers" for every speciality,
such as project controls, estimating and scheduling, says
Jerome Gold, vice president in the New York City office of
Carter & Burgess, the authoritys project management
Value engineering and a variety
of bid letting, including a two-step technical+low price negotiation
for more complex stations, encourages innovation, say contractors.
"Its a cooperative effort with the TA," says
Norman Hirsch, project manager with contractor Slattery Skanska,
New York City. "They pick your brains for the best ideas."
"We could say, Were
the owner, well do whatever we want, but you have
to listen and respect your contractors," says Nagaraja.
He also eschewed micromanaging. "I say that if I dont
know much about a project, it was a success."
By 2020, 100 stations will comply
with the American Disabilities Act as new elevators, wider
ramps and other measures are installed. "Our goal is
that by 2019, all 468 stations will be in good repair,"
says Nagaraja. "Thats about 80 stations every five
Station work is hampered by 24-hour
operations and congested conditions. In some cases, several
stations in a row are closed completely for fast-track work,
increasing the need for community outreach and communication.
Aesthetics has played an increasing
role in the program. At Manhattans 72nd Street station,
designers could not easily widen platforms because extensive
utility relocation would swell the budget to $100 million
instead of the allotted $40 million, says Samton, whose firm
partnered with architect Richard Dattner LLP on the design.
A new brick headhouse, a 20-ft platform extension, elevators
and a skylight were built "within strict dimensions above
the tracks while keeping trains and people moving," Samton
IN 72nd Street station redesign emphasized circulation
and community context. (Photo courtesy of Gruzen Samton
Further north, four subway stations
in the Columbia University area were renovated simultaneously
in 14 months. Columbia, eager to have the stations done for
its 200th anniversary, donated $1.5 million to the $85-million
construction cost. Brooklyn Museums station also was
included in the nine-month fast-track design because of its
anniversary. Features such as glass wall blocks exemplify
a transit trend "toward architecture for a common humanity,"
says Lonnie Coplen, Carter & Burgess project manager.
But in other stations, circulation
and connection improvements take precedence, says Coplen.
At 53rd Street on the Lexington line, traversing Manhattans
east side, a $60-million project involved constructing a new
mezzanine with a connecting elevator and escalator to two
platforms. The first is about 25 ft below street level and
the second 30 ft below that.
There, Slattery Skanska crews installed
overlapping augered concrete secant piles to form a watertight
box. Steel sheeting was not used because of concerns of vibrations
to nearby office buildings and a hospital, says Hirsch. Crews
used two rigs, one working from the surface and the other
some 11 ft below at the mezzanine level, to place the piles.
When the box was complete, they dropped a shaft another 65
ft to the deepest subway line for an escalator.
Times Square cross section shows utility layers, similar
to those in Brooklyn (shown below). (Photo courtesy of
At the authoritys request,
the escalator was installed 11 months ahead of schedule, earning
the contractor a $25,000 bonus. Though that was the only item
to be officially accelerated, "we hope to be out of here
by the end of this year" instead of February 2005, says
The systems most recognizable
station is probably Times Square, now in the midst of a $262-million,
eight-year renovation. Twelve subway lines service the sprawling
50,000-sq-ft, five-level station. Reaching 60-ft-depths, it
is used by 500,000 people daily in the heart of Manhattan.
To ease and increase access to the trains, contractors are
widening and creating pedestrian passages, breaking through
multiple levels for new elevator/escalator shafts and broadening
token booth lobbies.
The projects $91-million
second phase, being performed by a local joint venture of
Schiavone/Granite Halmar, is scheduled for a 2006 completion.
Some 7,000 sq ft of old storage rooms have been converted
to offices, and a new entrance to the shuttle to Grand Central
Station constructed, says Liam Dalton, assistant project director
for CTE Engineers. CTE is in joint venture with Bovis Lend
Lease as construction manager for phases 1 and 2.
The $85-million construction of
Phase 1 included extending the main entrance by 10 ft, widening
passages by up to 6 ft, and building new entrances in conjunction
with new office buildings, notes Mike Sweeney, project executive
The design by local architects
William Nicholas Bodouva & Associates and Kohn Pedersen
Fox included natural lighting, new ventilation and speaker
systems and new "transparent" stairwells that allow
for better surveillance of platform activity. The elements
are continued in Phase 2.
top courtesy of NYCTA; bottom courtesy of Turner Construction)
One mezzanine was widened from
12 ft to 60 ft. A 48-in. water main over the station roof
had to be supported while the roofand the streetwas
raised 3 ft for a temporary decking system. Forty-four cast-iron
duct banks were opened and relocated.
Crews demolished a 120-ft passageway
and are reconfiguring a "mixing bowl" of walkway
ramps with new staircases, three elevators and two escalators.
The station is so maze-like that early in the job Dalton told
one station worker, "Dont leave me, or Ill
get lost," he says.
One 700-ft-long busy passageway
needs retiling and relighting. "We filmed a video and
showed it to user groups to convince them to let us close
it at night and get it done quickly," says Sweeney. The
job will take eight nights.
Phase 3 will entail a 24-month
schedule to shift tracks 250 ft and create a center platform
for the arriving and departing shuttle trains to Grand Central
Terminal. That phase, estimated at $85 million, is scheduled
for completion in 2006.
Times Square station is not the
only one with multiple transfer lines. Atlantic Avenue in
Brooklyn has 10, plus a connection to the Long Island Rail
Road. Designed by a joint venture of architect di Domenico
+ Partners and Parsons Brinckerhoff, New York City, the renovation
features a mix of enhanced circulation and artistic elements,
such as wave designs along an improved walkway to Pacific
Station. The $160-million rehabilitation also features a unique
method of suspending the subway lines box tunnel, supporting
the weight of the street with 90-ft-long temporary supports.
Passages also were widened from some 20 ft to 60 ft, while
trains kept running.
EFFORTS Major station rehabilitation work such
as at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn ranges from elevated
tracks to underground platforms. (Photo courtesy of Slattery/GOTTLIEB)
Extensive pile tests were conducted
before the project kicked off in 2002 because the method had
never been done on a NYCTA subway station before, says Vijay
Verma, NYCTA construction manager. "The method saved
[a year]," Verma says, "and it was safer" than
excavating in sections.
Local consultant Irwin Toporoff
says he conceived the scheme on a previous highway job. "We
came up with the idea of putting piles through the street,"
he says. "Here, they put them through the platform of
Workers brought 10-in.-dia, hollow
steel pile tubes in 5-ft segments by work trains. From there,
they drilled the piles 70 ft through the subway platforms
and a lower concourse level into sandy soil. They erected
the piles segment by segment, filling them with concrete.
Diffley, Verma and Abdullaziz did Atlantic Ave. (Photo
by Aileen Cho for ENR)
Thirty-ft-long steel crossbeams
weighing 300 lb per ft were delivered by work trains and forklifts
equipped with rubber belts to minimize noise and chance of
electrification from contact with the third rail, says Riadh
Abdulaziz, project director for Turner Construction Co., New
York City, the construction oversight manager.
The forklifts threaded between
platform columns spaced at 15 ft. To set the beams crosswise
across the roof, crews with contractor Schiavone Construction,
Secaucus, N.J., used cable winches and forklifts with special
clamps on both sides of the track. "Headroom is so sensitivenot
even a foot," says Abdulaziz. "Excess vibrations
could not be allowed."
The 28 beams sat on the temporary
piles to accept the transfer of the roof weight with special
"pancake" shallow jacks inserted between the roof
and girders. On a good weekend night, up to 12 beams could
Workers deck a busy Manhattan street. Photo courtesy of
The structural steel of the track
beds, also supported on temporary piles, was replaced from
the level below, where workers also built new steel columns
to support widened passageways. "Wed come in, demolish
a part of track, install the temporary steel, put in the piles,
build the track, and repeat," says Bryan Diffley, Schiavone
general superintendent. "We poured up to 100 ft worth
of track invert in one weekend."
To support the street, two 40-ft-deep
holes were excavated from the surface so that structural steel
beams could be lowered through the 4-ft-thick subway roof.
With the aid of sixteen 8-ft-dia caissons the beams supported
street decking while one passageway was widened from 12 ft
to 60 ft.
The job entailed widening 15 stairways,
installing eight elevators, relocating utilities and renovating
a small old station house that the community deemed a historical
landmarkso much so that "I went to Minnesota to
find special bricks," says Abdulaziz. "They cost
$4 each." The headhouse, renovated for about $500,000,
now sits floorless on the station roof, acting as a skylight.
The four-year rehabilitation is almost complete.
While artistic and historical elements
are becoming de rigueur for New York City stations, energy
efficiency is following close behind. In Queens, the $87-million
Roosevelt/74th St. station rehabilitation features photovoltaic
panels generating solar energy on the canopy roof structures
of the new mezzanine.
SHAFTS Adding subway escalators and elevators is
tricky in tight spaces. (Photo courtesy of Slattery Skanska)
"We will use what we
did at Roosevelt as a model," says Dan Kaplan, senior
principal with Fox & Fowle, the New York City architect.
"It could serve as a prototype for the rest of the system."
The panels are about 8 x 8 ft and allow for improved ventilation,
says Ben Malamed, senior structural engineer for locally based
Vollmer Associates LLP, the structural engineer. Kaplan adds
that through computer models for the platforms, "we opened
up the windows to act as a chimney pulling air out of the
ground" to reduce summer temperatures for waiting passengers
and create more air movement. The emphasis on "sustainable
design" was first used on the rehabilitated Stillwell
Avenue station in Brooklyn, says Malamed.
Matching the curved clamshell shape
of the roofs steel pieces with poured concrete was challenging,
says Victor Paterno, project manager for Slattery Skanska.
The contractor must also relocate a 42-in.-dia, 30-ft-deep
sewer so that the passageway over it can be widened. Four
elevators are being added, stairways widened and an elevated
mezzanine over the street will be widened 30 ft, requiring
nighttime street closures, says Talib Lokhandwala, NYCTA construction
Paterno, Lokhandwala, Portes discuss 74th St. (Photo by
Aileen Cho for ENR)
An adjacent intermodal bus depot
is also being rebuilt, with six roof trusses 45 ft to 108
ft long and 8 ft deep replacing piers. They will allow for
four 12-ft lanes, says Stuart Lerner, Vollmer project executive.
The entire job is scheduled to be completed in late 2005,
but "were pushing for completion by the end of
this year," says Seymour Portes, NYCTA station rehabilitation
Other significant jobs in the 2000-2004
program include a $198-million, 10-station rehabilitation
in the Bronx, to be done in 24 months; the $33.8-million DeKalb
Avenue station in Brooklyn; and five stations along Brooklyns
Canarsie line, an estimated $40-million job with bids to be
let this summer, says Portes.
The next budget cycle will include
work such as new 25-ft-long passages between two Brooklyn
stations and a major Columbus Circle complex renovation. MTA
Capital Construction Co. will administer the new Fulton Street
Transit Center and the South Street Ferry terminal construction
as part of the downtown Manhattan redevelopment, plus the
Second Avenue Subway and 7 Line extension to Pennsylvania
Stationpending sufficient funding.