The World Trade Center site in December 2012*
Visible milestones marked steady progress at the World Trade Center (WTC) site in 2012. Over the past year, both 1 WTC and 4 WTC topped out at 105 and 72 stories, respectively; the Vehicular Security Center (VSC) was structurally completed; and the WTC Transportation Hub took shape at grade with its iconic cast-steel ribs supporting its substructure.
Updates on each of the WTC projects were presented by Port Authority Assistant Director of WTC Construction Quentin Brathwaite at Thursday's Community Board 1 Planning Committee meeting.
At 1 WTC, where steel reached its 1,368-feet peak in August, the final phase of vertical completion kicked off last month: installation of the spire that will raise the tower's total height to 1,776 feet. Crews took advantage of unseasonably calm weather in early December, transporting the spire's lower nine pieces from a Hudson River barge to the base of 1 WTC over just four nights. They are now at work forming the base for the spire atop the tower, and lifting the enormous sections to the roof one-by-one as weather allows. Brathwaite explained that crane lifts at 1 WTC are restricted to times when wind does not exceed 30 miles per hour at the roof level, greatly limiting operations during these winter months.
Nine upper pieces will complete the spire, but their installation may not begin until late winter or spring depending on weather conditions.
At the tower's base, or "podium," protective netting has been removed as crews prepare for the installation of the glass facade in early 2013.
Meanwhile, the Port continues to build out 1 WTC, including structural work on the public observation deck at the 100th and 101st floors, as well as lower-level lobby and elevator fit-out. In total, eight elevators in the tower are nearly operational, and office space and restrooms are nearing completion on several of the floors from 20 through 44, where tenant Conde Nast will be located by approximately late 2014.
Brathwaite explained that his team is now coordinating street-level construction plans with the State Department of Transportation (SDOT), which is building the West Street Promenade, on the plaza surrounding 1 WTC and on the pedestrian tunnel to Battery Park City, known as the "east-west connector." The plaza is part of the overall WTC streets program that will restore Vesey, Fulton, Cortlandt, Liberty, and Greenwich Street through the site -- though it is likely that none of the streets will accommodate public vehicular traffic. Removal of the Vesey Street Pedestrian Bridge also will be coordinated once the east-west connector is completed in approximately late 2014.
Timing for each street's completion and opening also is being coordinated, but it is possible that Greenwich and Liberty will open around 4 WTC as early as late 2013.
At the VSC, structural steel was completed this fall and concrete installation continues. Brathwaite reported that it should be open to vehicles on a limited basis by spring or summer of 2013, via an entrance at West and Liberty Streets. Relocation of the Liberty Street Bridge landing and construction of Liberty Park atop the VSC roof are both being planned with SDOT and Brookfield Properties, which maintains the bridge as part of the World Financial Center.
WTC Transportation Hub progress also has been steady, and the ribs are now being installed to support the future oculus. The oversized pieces are being trucked in overnight from Red Hook, and of the 100-plus steel members, the first shipment of 25 already is on site, with five now installed below grade. The "wings" will begin appearing on site in late 2013 through early 2014.
Brathwaite noted that all of the construction dates are subject to some adjustments since the Port Authority experienced some minor setbacks due to Hurricane Sandy winds and flooding, though delays will probably be only a matter a weeks. Mainly electrical and plumbing damage was sustained, along with easily replaceable equipment. More importantly, the Port was able to gain valuable knowledge about flooding at the site that will inform construction moving forward.
*Photo by Michael Calcagno