The Port Authority released its WTC Rebuilding Report,"A Roadmap Forward"
Driven by the Governor David Paterson’s mandate for accountability and honesty, the Port Authority released its highly anticipated World Trade Center (WTC) rebuilding report last week. “A Roadmap Forward” outlines new dates and revised budgets for each of its projects on the 16-acre site, including design changes made to help expedite its nearly $7 billion redevelopment program.
Executive Director Chris Ward reviewed the report with Community Board 1’s WTC Redevelopment Committee on October 6th. He explained that while completion dates for each Port Authority project have slipped, the new timetables are as accurate as possible and account for the extensive infrastructure work that literally forms the foundation of the entire site.
The biggest design changes are to the $3.2 billion WTC Transportation Hub, now slated for “probabilistic” completion in the second quarter of 2014. Working with architect Santiago Calatrava, Port Authority engineers simplified the 800,000-square-foot hub design while “retaining the iconic vision” unveiled four years ago. The new plan uses columns and other conventional design elements that save time and money.
Most notably, the hub’s “wings” will no longer be moveable, the south wings will be shortened, and the long expanses of undulating girders inside the main hall will be supported by a single plate on vertical columns. That plate girder allows crews to “build the roof first,” said Ward, enabling construction of the hub’s upper and lower levels to take place simultaneously.
The “deckover solution,” as the report calls the plate-girder plan, means that the hub’s PATH mezzanine level will be in place first. The mezzanine forms the floor of the National 9/11 Memorial plaza, thereby separating WTC hub from Memorial construction. This vital engineering change will reduce the need for temporary structures and speed work to meet the Memorial plaza’s opening date of September 11, 2011, with the entire complex done by late 2013.
As the city’s third-largest transit center, the WTC hub still will connect with every downtown subway line either directly or via the Fulton Street Transit Center, as well at to Battery Park City’s World Financial Center. Part of the redesign included shifting both entrances to the 1 and R/W subway stations to the hub’s center line for better wayfinding. The hub’s multi-level retail program will remain the same, and still extend to the lower floors of the WTC’s four skyscrapers.
The Port will reconfigure the underpinning of the 1 subway box that bisects the WTC site. The simplified plan is a “top down” design that lets crews construct the subway’s ventilation and mechanical levels, while building out the actual Greenwich Street roadway above the box at a cost of $281 million.
Beneath the various WTC structures, the Port is building the Vehicular Security Center (VSC), a network of underground roadways, ramps, security checkpoints, and parking. At a cost of $633 million, the VSC will open in the third quarter of 2012 -- a date reached now that the Port secured an agreement with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the landowner on the WTC’s southern border. The 130 Liberty Deconstruction Project, 9A Project and Liberty Street Bridge have been scheduled to accommodate the new construction schedule for the VCS. The agency also has acquired full control of the VSC from the Federal Transit Administration to help expedite its construction, and is collaborating with the Police Department to ensure security throughout the complex.
With construction costs on the rise, the price tag of the Freedom Tower -- now also known as 1 World Trade Center -- rose to $3.1 billion, while its completion slipped to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Ward also reported that to help ensure progress at the Trade Center, the Port Authority has created the Office of Construction Logistics. Led by Quentin Brathwaite, who also serves as assistant director of WTC construction, the department will handle internal coordination, project-consultant management, and continued community outreach on rebuilding and quality-of-life issues.
To that end, the Port launched the new website www.wtcprogress.com, where the public can read updates and view images of the WTC’s rebuilding progress.