Updates: Public Construction Projects in Murray Hill

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Updates: Public Construction Projects in Murray Hill

There are several ongoing public construction projects in Murray Hill and surrounding areas: the New Wave Pier makeover is completed, the Park Avenue Tunnel Restoration is nearing completion, the East Side Access Project is expected to open to the public in December 2022, and the infrastructure upgrades along 3rd and 2nd Avenue and surrounding areas is progressing, with an expected completion in Fall 2023.

New Wave Pier Completed
[shared by Community Board 6] The New Wave Pier, located along the East River Esplanade from 38th Street to 41st Street, is a New York City Parks Department project to add some amenities to the Waterside Pier and to provide additional recreational space for the neighborhood. The New Wave Pier features splashes of neon color, sections of turf, and picnic tables for the community. The New Wave Pier makeover is now complete. 

Photo by Kevin O' Keefe, Chair of CB6 Environment and Parks Committee.

Park Avenue Tunnel

The Rehabilitation of the Park Avenue Tunnel is nearing completion. The project is entering its last phase, which is the reconstruction of the pedestrian median at 34th street. This work had been scheduled earlier in the contract but was delayed due to the pandemic, material shortages and the redesign of certain elements associated with underground utilities.   

Coordination with city agencies is in progress and the work to replace the existing water main will begin as the first step. This will involve the installation of a fire hydrant and shutoff valve at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 34th Street. After the water main work is completed, the median will be reconstructed.

The tunnel will reopen once final testing of the carbon monoxide system is completed in coordination with FDNY. The anticipated completion date is November, 2021.

MED607 Infrastructure upgrades along 2nd Avenue and surrounding areas

The New York City Department of Design and Construction commenced the Infrastructure Upgrades along 2nd Avenue and surrounding areas in the summer of 2018 with an anticipated completion date of fall 2023.

In June, the city contractor completed trench restoration on 3rd Avenue between 32nd and 36th Street. The trench restoration work was done over the new 20” distribution water main pipes on the west side and over the new 36” trunk water main pipes on the east side of 3rd Avenue.

In July, the city contractor completed the final roadway restoration on 3rd Avenue between 32nd and 36th Street.

In July and August, work continued on steam mains on 35th Street between 2nd Avenue and the QMT Exit (weekends only).

Steam main work on 2nd Avenue and 33rd Street is expected to be completed in August. When this steam main work is completed, the city contactor will begin the excavation and installation of the new 48” trunk water main along the east side of 2nd Avenue between 32nd and 34th Street.

Steps for installation of water mains and restoration of the road surface.

Step 1. The excavated trench, in preparation for the installation of the 36” trunk water main pipe. The city contractor performs timbering of trenches, sometimes also known as shoring. This method consists of providing timber planks or boards and struts to give temporary support to the sides of the trench. The side walls of the trench need to be supported so that they do not cave in on the workers installing the water main pipe. The shoring design provides protection from cave-ins, collapse, sliding or rolling materials.
Step 2. The 36” trunk water main pipe has been installed. Once the pipe goes in the ground, the city contractor needs to secure, sanitize, and protect the pipe from other underground conduits and utilities.  The city contractor then installs appurtenances. Some examples of appurtenances are manholes, flowmeters, valves anchors, caps, etc. This portion of the trunk water main work is the assembly.  The trunk water main would not provide maintainable and useful services without the appurtenances.  
Step 3. This picture shows the backfill material on top of the 36” trunk water main. Once the trunk water main is installed, the city contractor backfills the trench in preparation for the final roadway restoration.  Trenches are backfilled with “Select Granular Fill” (consisting of clean soil or sand that has been engineered - looks like very clean beach sand) to near the top of the water main, and over that is placed “Clean Fill” up to the underside of the pavement. The backfill is placed in layers (called “lifts”) no more than 6” thick and each layer is compacted before the next layer is placed. “Select Granular Fill” and “Clean Fill” are technical terms with specified levels of minimum and maximum particle sizes and types. In addition, each has been processed to remove any organic materials, oils, or other contaminants.
Step 4. The city contractor pours concrete for the roadway base slab over the trench. This stage of roadwork is in preparation for the final roadway restoration. After the backfill material is compacted in any utility infrastructure trench, the same process of pouring concrete over backfill is used, whether it’s a trunk water main or distribution water main, gas main, electrical conduits, etc. 
4a. Concrete slab covers the entire trench.
Step 5. Compacted asphalt goes over the concrete base slab. This picture shows asphalt that is compacted on 3rd Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Street (a block south of the other pictures). 

East Side Access

Source: the East Side Access website new.mta.info/projects/east-side-access

Map https://new.mta.info/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/2020-10/esa_align_2015Nov_1.jpg

The ESA site at East 37th Street has been inactive since the last report.

East Side Access is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects currently underway in the United States. ESA will provide new, direct Long Island Rail Road service into a new concourse below Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan’s East Side, reducing commute times between Long Island and Manhattan by up to 40 minutes. The project involves work in multiple locations throughout Manhattan and Queens, and includes more than eight miles of tunneling.

East Side Access is an integral component of the MTA’s broader LIRR system expansion initiative to help reduce passenger crowding, train congestion and automobile traffic, and to provide connections with additional regional transportation options such as Metro North Railroad and New York City Transit subways. East Side Access will also reduce train and passenger congestion at New York Penn Station and its neighboring subway stations by providing an alternative destination point which will be more convenient for some passengers.

Project Elements

  • Project teams have excavated the dense bedrock beneath Manhattan and the mixed face soil under Queens to make room for new train tunnels, platforms, service facilities and ventilation and access shafts. Techniques included tunnel boring, cut-and-cover, drilling and blasting.
  • A new terminal with eight tracks, four passenger platforms, mezzanines and concourses has been constructed below Grand Central Terminal.
  • Teams are building a new 350,000 square foot passenger concourse directly below the lower level of Grand Central Terminal, with 25,000 square feet of new retail space. The focus now is on architectural finishes and final systems testing.
  • Tracks have been replaced, reconfigured, and modernized from Harold Interlocking in Queens to Grand Central. The complex network of switches and tracks at Harold Interlocking, one of the busiest train interlockings in the U.S., is being reconfigured to improve service and reduce delays. This work will benefit the entire northeast corridor.
  • New facilities for ventilating the tunnels and concourse and powering trains are being constructed, while existing facilities are being modernized and improved.

The ESA project is expected to open to the public in December 2022.