March 24th - March 28th, 2008
Heightened Safety Concerns around WTC Construction Cranes
March 24 – The Port Authority announced that in light of heightened safety concerns about construction cranes, it is asking two NYC agencies to conduct regular inspections of the 17 cranes that will eventually be on the WTC site. According to The New York Post, the Port Authority began planning the beefed up inspections two weeks before the deadly March 15th crane collapse on East 51st Street. PA Executive Director Anthony Shorris said the Fire Department and the Buildings Department will be inspecting cranes on the WTC site every two weeks; that’s in addition to inspections done by the PA’s own safety inspections. Shorris said, “We not only want to meet city standards; we want to go beyond the city standards.” By 2009, there will be 17 cranes on the WTC site.
DOB Revises Crane Regulations
March 26 – The NYC Buildings Department (DOB) has made some major changes in the way it inspects and regulates tower cranes. According to The New York Times, a city inspector will now have to present every time a crane is erected, jumped (where additional sections are added to the crane) or dismantled. Also, the project engineer has to produce a written protocol each time a crane is jumped and then inspect the crane to certify it was assembled according to that protocol. In addition, a DOB inspector will be at each safety meeting held by the lead contractor with workers involved in the jumping operation. The changes were made in the wake of the deadly crane accident on March 15.
Stop Work Orders Issued
March 26 – The City DOB issued stop work orders at two construction sites in Lower Manhattan, citing failed inspections of the site’s tower cranes. The Daily News reports one of the three cranes at 200 Murray Street – the Goldman Sachs building - was shut down because the name of the person operating the crane was different from the one on the permit. At 123 Washington Street near Ground Zero, inspectors found a pin missing from an I-beam at the base of the crane.
Further Litigation Required for 9-11 Workers
March 27 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on Wednesday that tens of thousands of lawsuits filed against the City by Ground Zero workers after 9-11 were so complex that they can only be resolved by further litigation. The ruling clears the way for a trial or a settlement which could cost the city billions of dollars. According to The New York Times, the City argued it has immunity from lawsuits because it was responding to an attack and the claims from police officers, firefighters and construction workers should be dismissed.
Hudson River Park Proposal Nixed
March 28 – A $625 million plan to build a performing arts center and rooftop athletic fields on Pier 40 has been nixed by the Hudson River Park Trust. According to several published reports, the plan from The Related Companies, was opposed by community groups and included a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil. Diana Taylor who chairs the Trust said the plan is off the table because Related could not comply with a 30 year lease requirement. The plan was one of two bids to redevelop the Pier; the second bidder, the Camp Group, wants to use the Pier for a day camp and recreational facility for children. Camp Group and a group of local residents, called the Pier 40 Partnership, now have 90 days to come up with a financially sound plan to save the crumbling Pier. The Downtown Express is reporting the two groups may form an alliance.
Concrete Contract Awarded for Memorial Project
March 28 – The Port Authority awarded a $103.9 million concrete contract for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. A Long Island City company, Navillus Contracting, together with Bovis Lend Lease, will be providing 36,000 cubic yards of concrete to build the slabs, decks, walls and enclosures of the waterfalls and pools. According to The New York Times, the two companies will also be providing 9,000 cubic yards of concrete for adjacent underground areas. This summer, steel will begin to be erected for the $530 million memorial.