The WTC site January 2009 viewed from the east
At Community Board 1’s January 12th meeting, the Port Authority reported on steady construction progress within the World Trade Center (WTC) site’s fence line. But unlike previous quarterly reports to the WTC Committee, this time the agency brought a list of updates on community relations, site beautification, and various quality-of-life improvements.
The physical changes around the site were introduced by the new Office of Construction Logistics, a department created in the fall to help with internal and community coordination. Under the leadership of Quentin Brathwaite, who also serves as assistant director of WTC construction and presented to CB1, the office has implemented several plans to make the site more pedestrian and visitor friendly.
The new fence “wrap” around the site is one of the more obvious additions. Installed in November, the eight-foot-tall vinyl wrap is affixed to the perimeter fence -- atop freshly painted Jersey barriers -- and depict each of the WTC structures now under construction (or soon to be). The panels are in place on three of the site’s four sides, and the Port is now working with the state Department of Transportation to hang the last panels along West Street (State Route 9A). “No vending” signs are being added to the wrap this month.
To help with heavy pedestrian traffic, the Port is restriping high-visibility crosswalks at Vesey and Church Street, while more traffic enforcement agents are helping keep pedestrians safe as heavy-construction trucks move in and out of the site. At Liberty Street, the sidewalk shed is being aesthetically revamped with paint and graphics. Lighting, paving, and sidewalk-drainage issues also are being improved around the entire site.
As part of his office’s expanded community outreach, Braithwaite noted that community leaders are being offered more regular “walkthroughs” of the site and its surroundings -- a great way to efficiently address issues as they arise, he said.
Within the site, Braithwaite reported that National 9/11 Memorial construction is progressing well, with steel being installed faster than the contractor initially anticipated.
The Freedom Tower’s south core is now 35 feet above grade, while the north core is rising fast and should be above grade by late summer 2009. Once the sub-grade portions are complete, the Port expects one new floor to be built every week or two.
Crews continue to excavate the north end of the east bathtub, making way for WTC Transportation Hub and Tower 2 construction -- though arbitration over the latter’s turnover is still in arbitration with Silverstein Properties. The Hub’s east-west connector is on the way to final fit-out south of the Freedom Tower with 47 steel arches in place. Crews are now beginning the secant wall installation that will allow for tunnel excavation across West Street.
On the site’s south side, Port Authority crews have completed test borings that precede excavation for the Vehicular Security Center (VSC). Construction of the VSC and of the south bathtub -- located at the 130 Liberty Street building site, where 5 WTC will eventually rise -- is expected to mobilize in the coming months.
Braithwaite noted that funding for the agency’s WTC projects remains intact, and they are still on track to hit milestones set in “The Roadmap Forward.”