The Nov. 23 resumption of
train service from New
Jersey into New York City’s
former World Trade Center
site after a $566-million
overhaul of stations and track
damaged on Sept. 11, 2001,
marks a crucial milestone in
renaissance. The project’s
centerpiece is a $323-million
"temporary" station for
Trans-Hudson (PATH) line in
New York City that will serve
as a no-frills stand-in for the
$2-billion downtown transportation megacenter to come by the end of the decade.
The station opened a month early and debuted five months after the reopening of
the Exchange Place station across the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J. That station
underwent $137 million of work, including the 110-ft extension of platforms to
accommodate 10-car trains. That modification was considered more than 20 years
ago but ruled out because of the cost and required service lapse, say officials of the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs PATH. The reconstruction was
funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Port Authority and insurance.
The Port Authority spent $106 million restoring 1-mile-long tunnels below the river
that suffered major flood damage after the 9/11 terror attacks. "Tunnels were flooded
up to roof height," says Lou Menno, a manager of the Port Authority’s priority capital
program. Water from seepage and firefighting also destroyed many of the 150 cables
and 4,400 wires inside.
The PATH system consists of five tunnel extensions of varying
elevations shaped like a hand. It needed major work to repair tunnel
linings and to accommodate trains that were rerouted from Exchange
Place to another Manhattan PATH station. Track, electrical equipment
and ducts were replaced and the Port Authority spent more than $16
million on new track signals and $2 million on a new computer-run
switching center that replaces the old relay system.
It took weeks after 9/11 to pump out the water, says Tom Groark, Port Au-thority
assistant chief engineer. Officials say the reconstruction required contractors to work
"double and triple shifts." Construction was managed by a joint venture of Tully
Construction Co., Flushing, N.Y.; A.J. Pegno Construction Corp., College Point, N.Y.;
and Yonkers Contracting, Yonkers, N.Y. The team is set to receive a $5-million early
completion bonus, sources say.
The 16.6-ft-dia, iron-lined tunnels now have a new track system of direct- fixed
neoprene fasteners instead of the old ties and ballast. Duct banks now feature
fiberglass reinforcement. The cast-iron lining of compressed air tunnels built in 1905
"is as good as the day it was put up," Groark says.
Reconfiguring tunnel extensions to allow trains to turn around and switch tracks
required nearly 11,000 cu yd of excavation. Drill-and-blast operations were challenging
because of the risk of damage to buildings above, says Groark.
Engineers decided to use Austrian roadheader machines to excavate the soft mica
encountered, says Raymond Sandiford, the Port Authority’s chief technical engineer.
But the machines were high-maintenance and sometimes went down "for days and
weeks," he says.
Next spring, architect Santiago Calatrava will present designs for the permanent
transportation hub that will link PATH with subway lines, says a Port Authority
spokesman. Five bidders have been short-listed for the construction management
contract. The entire hub is set for a 2009 opening.