May 5th - May 11th, 2006
Memorial Construction on Hold
Saturday, May 6th: Construction of the World Trade Center Memorial has been placed on hold until its budget can be reconciled, the Daily News reported. According to the News, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki and Governor Jon Corzine had previously agreed to cap the cost for the memorial and museum at $500 million, but current estimates suggest that it could cost as much as $673 million to build, excluding $300 million needed for infrastructure costs. In a statement, the LMDC said it intends to continue to look for appropriate strategies to accomplish the goal of having the memorial and museum open on September11, 2009, the paper added.
According to the New York Post, Bloomberg has been playing an ever-increasing role in the development process of the memorial and museum and recently suggested placing the museum in the Freedom Tower Lobby. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation has stopped fundraising activities for the memorial and museum until their total cost has been determined, the Associated Press reported.
"The decision was made to not actively pursue new fundraising efforts until complete clarity can be achieved with respect to the design and costs of the project," Foundation board member Tom Johnson announced in a statement. "It's only fair to donors to be able to expressly say how their money will be used and how much the project will cost," he continued. The AP added that officials are currently considering memorial design changes.
Lower Manhattan Construction Ready for Takeoff
Monday, May 8th: The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) is putting the finishing touches on a plan to coordinate the arrival of more than 3,000 cement trucks and 7,000 construction workers a day in coming years as downtown construction gets into full swing, the New York Post reported.
"This is one of the single largest urban programs ever undertaken in America," Charles Maikish, executive director of the LMCCC, told the Post. "The challenge here is to do it and preserve the vitality of Lower Manhattan."
During the next six years, more than $20 billion of construction will take place in Lower Manhattan, and just two years from now, the skyline will be filled with up to 34 tower cranes busy hauling building materials to the growing skyscrapers, the paper continued. In addition, steel girders will be put in place while the transit system is rebuilt, buildings are taken down, and streets are repaired, the Post added.
The planned construction will add about 10 million square feet of office space and 8,000 apartments and condos and will increase the downtown population by 40 percent, the Post reported. Construction of this magnitude will tax the limits of the city's bridges, tunnels, highways and streets, the paper continued, and will affect the 36,000 Lower Manhattan residents and 240,000 daily Lower Manhattan commuters.
To combat congestion and alleviate traffic snarls caused by construction, the LMCCC plans to create a satellite office of the city's Long Island City traffic center in Lower Manhattan. The LMCCC will also establish staging areas to help transport construction workers downtown en masse, rather than having them all attempt to drive into Lower Manhattan individually, the paper added.
Work at WTC Site Moves Along in Wee Morning Hours
Monday, May 8th: In the pit below where the World Trade Center once stood, 15 construction workers have been working through the nights to relocate the train signaling system for the PATH station, the power supply system that supplies electricity to the tracks, water pipes connected to stanchions, and the steel conduit that provides the compressed air needed to operate the track switch, the New York Times reported. The work is necessary to clear the way for the steel support columns and concrete footing of the Freedom Tower, the paper continued.
"This is the beginning of a five-year process, the first of many, many steps, as we build block upon block upon block in a very tight time frame," Larry Silverstein told the Times. In fact, the preliminary work began on March 28th, almost a month before an official ceremony marked the start of construction by celebrating the arrival of an equipment convoy from a subcontractor.
In order to work around the PATH train schedule and cause as few disruptions as possible, access to the pit is limited to weekdays from 1 to 5 a.m. and weekends from 1 a.m. on Saturday until 5 a.m. on Monday, the paper reported. Gary Cohen, senior project manager for Tishman Construction, which is overseeing the work, stressed the intricacy involved in the construction and its scheduling. "It's a chess game," he told the Times.
Volvo Ocean Race Docks in New York
Tuesday, May 9th: Early Tuesday morning, seven 70-foot yachts arrived at the North Cove Marina in Battery Park, completing the sixth of nine legs in a year-long race. As part of its first visit to New York City, the Volvo Ocean Race, which takes place every three years, will host lunchtime and after-work concerts as well as visual theater performances on the Volvo Ocean Race Village stage on the World Financial Center Plaza in front of North Cove Harbor. Other events, including discussions with the crew, press conferences, and entertainment, will take place during the racers' stay in New York, culminating on Thursday afternoon, May 11th, with the grand start of the race's eighth leg. For more on the Volvo Ocean Race, click here.
Emergency Responders Network Preparing for Test Drive
Wednesday, May 10th: The City of New York is preparing to test two wireless networks that, if installed permanently, would give emergency responders the capability to download building floor plans, mug shots, and fingerprints immediately from the field, the New York Sun reported. The two companies vying to permanently implement the program are Motorola Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp, the paper continued, each of which will operate a six-month trial run before a contract is awarded.
"The systems being considered are emerging, cutting-edge technologies that will put New York City at the forefront of the next wave of public safety communications and interoperability," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the Sun. They are "critical to increasing safety and raising the performance level of our first responders," he added.
According to the Sun, the pilot program will cost $2.7 million; the estimated price tag for a permanent network is $500 million, which covers construction and maintenance for the first five years. This type of network, which creates high-speed connections to fire and police electronic systems, is up and running in other cities, the Sun continued. A request for proposals for a network for New York was issued by the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication in 2004 after the communications problems during the attacks on the World Trade highlighted the need for a streamlined communication system for emergency responders, the paper added.