September 29th - October 3rd, 2008
OSHA Releases Proposed Construction Changes
September 29 – OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, released a 1,100 page document outlining proposed changes for construction changes. According to Engineering News Record, the report addresses the hazards associated with the use of cranes and derricks in construction and will protect construction employees and help prevent crane accidents by updating existing protections and requiring crane operators to be trained. The federal regulation would impact 96,000 cranes, 164,000 companies and 2.3 million workers. The draft proposal can be found at www.osha.gov.
Ground Zero Health Bill put aside
September 29 – Congress has put aside a $10.9 billion bill that would have provided health care to Ground Zero workers. Several published reports say Mayor Bloomberg objected to having the City pay 10% of the cost of the program, approximately $500 million. A new bill may be introduced next year, but there’s no guarantee it will pass. A mayoral spokesman said the compensation would put an undue burden on city taxpayers.
WTC Transit Hub behind Schedule
September 30 – The WTC Transit Hub is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and five years behind schedule according to several published reports. The stories say the Port Authority is expected to announce yet another redesign of the Hub and a new cost estimate of approximately $3 billion, $500 million over its initial budget. Reports say transportation consultants Carter & Burgess warned of cost overruns and delays at the Hub in 2006. Every three months, the consultants issued reports warning of delays and higher costs. By early 2008, the consultants said there was a less than 5 percent chance that the Hub would be built within budget. The report blames delays in procuring contractors, repeated design changes and failure to make timely decisions as reasons for the cost overruns and missed deadlines. A Port Authority spokesman said the agency acknowledged the problems and is moving forward with a new way of doing businesses which is producing positive results.
PA Hires Vehicle and Pedestrian Traffic Coordinator
October 1– The Port Authority has hired Sam Schwartz, former city Traffic Commissioner, to coordinate the vehicle and pedestrian traffic around the WTC site as the construction ramps up. The PA said Schwartz will liaise with Lower Manhattan businesses and community leaders.
PA Releases New Timetables
October 3 – The Port Authority revealed a new timetable for the re-construction of the WTC site as it admitted the project is way behind schedule and over budget. The revamped plan, outlined in a 69 page report, has the transit center costing $3.2 billion and the Freedom Tower $3.1 billion; it also says most of the projects will be completed in 2013 and 2014. The PA vowed to have the 9-11 Memorial plaza finished in time for the 10th anniversary but the Museum won’t open until 2013. PA Executive Director Christopher Ward announced service on the No. 1 subway below Chambers Street will be shutdown for about six weeks in 2010 and that PATH service will be shutdown on weekends next summer and then for 40 weekends out of each year. The report also said the Vehicle Security Center is likely to be completed in the first quarter of 2012 and the re-created Greenwich Street will open sometime in 2012.
Pier 40 Fate Unknown
October 3 – The fate of Pier 40 is up in the air again after the Hudson River Park Trust announced the latest plan for the Pier –from CampGroup/Urban Dove and the Pier 40 Partnership- won’t work financially. The Downtown Express reported that the Trust will work to change the Hudson River Park Act to provide a longer term lease for the pier, probably 40 years, to attract potential developers.
Lower Manhattan Leasing Activity Drops
October 3 – Leasing activity in Lower Manhattan has dropped considerably. According to the August report from CB Richard Ellis, leasing activity dropped by about 71 percent, due to the weakening economy. 130,000 square feet was leased in August compared to a five year monthly average of 450,000 square feet.
Governeur Healthcare Services Project Breaks Ground
October 3 – Ground was broken last week on the modernization project at Gouverneur Healthcare Services at 227 Madison Street. It’s a four year, $180 million project that will create 85 new nursing home beds and expand preventive healthcare services by about 15 percent.