How does weather affect construction?
Dry, warm weather is optimal for construction, but crews sometimes work through harsh conditions. Cold weather, rain, wind, and snow, however, do limit some construction activities, especially roadwork. Asphalt, for example, will not dry properly unless it is poured when temperatures are at least 40 degrees and rising, and concrete cannot set properly in rain.
How does the city decide what times of day to do construction?
There are many factors that influence a project’s scheduling, such as whether a particular work site is in a more residential or commercial area, the nature and extent of the work, and how the work affects traffic flow, parking, transit, etc. Noisy work such as jackhammering, for example, is restricted to daylight hours.
Why can’t construction crews work 24/7?
Because every construction site is unique, each has particular scheduling requirements. Depending on noise, location, equipment, and other factors, one project may need to be handled during weekdays, another on weekends, and another only at night. The city, working with community boards and other groups, regulates projects based on those factors to minimize disruption for residents, businesses, and workers.
How can I try to reschedule construction in my neighborhood?
Because there are many factors involved with construction timing, rescheduling work hours typically must be approved by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Department of Transportation (DOT), and other involved agencies that control work permits. Factors that influence a project’s schedule include whether a particular work site is in a more residential or commercial area, the nature and extent of the work, and how the work affects traffic flow, parking, transit, etc. Call 311 to learn more about a specific construction site.
Where does the money for a street reconstruction project come from, and where does it go?
Since September 11, 2001, most Lower Manhattan street reconstruction projects have been funded largely by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to repair roadways damaged by heavy construction vehicles that helped with the WTC cleanup effort. In regular circumstances, such projects are financed by city DOT. Project funds are used to hire contractors to carry out the construction and to pay for equipment and materials.
When will construction downtown be finished?
Currently there is more than $22 billion invested in construction projects taking place or starting soon in Lower Manhattan, including the new Fulton Street Transit Center, the South Ferry subway terminal, and the World Trade Center site redevelopment. Each project has its own timeframe for completion. Please visit our Project Updates and Looking Ahead sections for specific projects’ timing.
Does the city have any regulations to minimize
construction dust and noise?
Yes, the city, state, and federal governments have environmental
performance commitments (EPCs) in place to help
reduce dust, debris, and noise. The Housing Preservation
and Development (HPD) and Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) regulate construction sites
to minimize dust and keep construction sites and equipment
clean. Meanwhile, the city Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) is largely responsible
for Noise Control Codes, which on July 1, 2007, will
put a cap of 85 decibels (dB) on all noise sources when
measured from 50 feet away. The code also will limit
“impulsive” sound to 15 dB above background
level. The city can mitigate exceptions with prior approval.
Manhattan Construction Command Center helps regulate
and monitor EPCs, working directly with contractors
and agencies. Call 311 for specific questions about
city statutes or to register a complaint.
How does the LMCCC help mitigate construction noise?
Many projects already adhere to the Lower
Manhattan Construction Command Center’s (LMCCC)
performance commitments (EPC), which include noise
levels. That means using “noise-attenuated”
equipment and protective barriers, pile augering instead
of pile driving, and limiting noisy construction to
But the LMCCC also monitors levels as part of its Environmental
Compliance and Coordination program. As part of
the program, LMCCC’s inspectors are deployed for
spot checks at regular intervals and immediately in
response to local complaints.
If inspectors find an elevated reading, the LMCCC notifies
the project sponsor and construction manager to remedy
the issue -- usually by installing new mufflers or making
other equipment adjustments, changing work hours, finding
new construction modes, or other measures. Partner agencies
and project sponsors, including the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority, New
York State Department of Transportation, and Port
Authority, also monitor noise on a regular basis.
How does the city decide where detours should go?
To arrange the best possible detour (or “MPT”), the city Department of Transportation evaluates traffic volume and other usage of neighboring streets, as well as where those streets lead. On rare occasions, the DOT may have to alter a one-way street’s direction or change the timing of a traffic signal to accommodate detoured traffic, but the agency always works to minimize the length of time such changes are needed.
What roles do Con Ed and Verizon play in street reconstructions?
While the city DDC and DOT lead street reconstruction projects -- hiring contractors to repair and replace utilities such as water, gas, and sewer mains -- they will often coordinate with other utility companies while a street is open. Verizon and Con Edison, for example, are responsible for underground electrical and telecommunications conduits in the city and usually inspect and repair or replace their equipment during a street reconstruction.
How are construction sites monitored?
Because the city DDC and DOT are responsible for issuing work permits and coordinating construction projects, their representatives regularly visit construction sites to ensure that work orders and city regulations are being followed. To help monitor and coordinate the various rebuilding projects, the state and city created the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center in November 2004.
Who can I call when a construction area is really messy?
Though the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center and government agencies monitor construction sites, downtown residents and workers can call 311 to report any unsafe or disorderly worksites.
Who can I call to find out about garbage collection times and locations?
The city’s information hotline, 311, can provide answers to questions about garbage and recycling pick-ups.
To help people who live, work, and visit Lower Manhattan better understand some of the basics of construction, LowerManhattan.info has answered some commonly asked questions. If your query isn’t on this list, click here to submit it, or call the city’s information hotline, 311, for immediate assistance 24 hours a day.