Wednesday, January 7, 2015

$194M Contract Awarded to Rebuild South Ferry Subway Station

The No. 1 line station at South Ferry will get a $194 million makeover after it was nearly decimated during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The new complex will allow exit and entry to all 10 cars along the No. 1 line instead of just the current five. The MTA has awarded a $194 million contract to Judlau Contracting to rebuild the Sandy-ravaged South Ferry subway station in Lower Manhattan. Work on the No. 1 line station, which will include permanent flood-protection measures, is expected to be completed in 2017.
Superstorm Sandy dumped about 15 million gallons of salt water from New York Harbor into the nearly new station. The gleaming $545 million South Ferry terminal was less than four years old when Sandy hit in October 2012.

The superstorm left an 80-foot-deep flood in the structure, destroying all of the electrical and mechanical systems, including escalators, turnstiles and signals.

After the storm, the MTA recommissioned the old South Ferry station, which had been mothballed in 2009.

Old South Ferry, which dates back to 1905, is not wheelchair accessible, and because it was built on a curve, riders can enter and exit only from the first five cars of the 10-car train.

“While the old South Ferry Station has been brought back into operation as a temporary replacement, it is obsolete ..." MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said. “Reopening the new South Ferry station complex and protecting it against future storms is an MTA priority. It will improve access to Lower Manhattan for thousands of customers and is part of our commitment to 'Build Back Better.'"

The MTA awarded the 31-month rebuilding contract to Judlau Contracting Inc. The work will include installing retractable flood doors at station entrances. Other entry points for water such as vents, manholes and hatches, conduits and ducts will also be “hardened,” the MTA said.

Previously hired MTA contractors have removed damaged equipment from South Ferry and installed interim measures to protect the station from a storm surge.

Restoring Electrical Systems Destroyed By Sandy

After walking down a set of rusting stairs, under a crumbling ceiling, along a debris-strewn platform and past a ruined control room, you arrive at the most devastated part of the South Ferry subway station: A room full of electrical equipment, corroding from the effects of almost 15 million gallons of salt water that flooded it during Superstorm Sandy.

“It is completely nonfunctional,” said an electrical supervisor for MTA New York City Transit's subway system. “Just a simple cleanup won't suffice. We actually have to reconstruct and replace all of this equipment.”

Sandy damaged the New York City subway worse than anything else in its 108-year history, flooding eight tunnels and shutting service for millions of commuters. Recovery efforts began even before the storm was over, and extraordinary work by New York City Transit brought lines back into service rapidly.

Yet while the subway seems back to normal for most of the 5.6 million daily riders, the damage behind the scenes remains extensive – nowhere more so than in the South Ferry electrical room.

Rust stains on a row of programmable logic controllers, which handled signals and switches from South Ferry to the Rector Street station on the 1 train. All of them were ruined.

“This is like taking your computer and just dipping it in salt water,” he said, demonstrating how a bank of switches had failed. “These should snap up and down really easily. The contacts inside are a total loss.”
In front of him stretched banks of wires and electrical contacts that once held hundreds of relays – critical electric components that deliver signal information, control switches and keep trains properly spaced from each other.

Soon after South Ferry was pumped out and drained, crews removed hundreds of relays and tried cleaning them by hand to return them to service – a task that turned out to be futile, as seen by heavy corrosion marks visible on the banks of relays.

 “We reached out to the manufacturers and said, ‘Look, can we salvage this?’ ”, he said. “They told us, ‘No, just throw it away. There’s nothing you can do.’ ”

The South Ferry station, built with $545 million in post-9/11 recovery funds, opened in 2009 as a state-of-the-art marvel. It could handle 24 trains an hour on two parallel tracks – a vast improvement over the old station, which could accommodate only half of a 10-car train on a severely curved platform – and was excavated out of bedrock below the existing tangle of Lower Manhattan infrastructure.

Then came Sandy. Though MTA crews tried to barricade the station entrances and ventilation grates before the storm, chest-high water poured down the stairs and filled the station 80 feet deep, from track level to the mezzanine.
The complete rebuilding effort will take an estimated $600 million and as long as three years, and engineers are studying whether some of the vital electrical infrastructure can be moved to higher ground to guard against future flooding.

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