From new tunnel projects to MTA prototypes and innovative scaffolding, here are a few of the new sights and happenings taking place around New York City.
Gateway Tunnel Project Continues to Experience Obstacles
Work on the Hudson Yards project could cause issues for the Gateway Tunnel project, for which state officials still need to obtain $440 million to complete. With Related Companies set to deck the western half of the megaproject next year, however, the entire project could become obsolete if the funds aren’t secured in time for Gateway.
Since the tunnel snakes through the Hudson Yards development in order to provide a connection to Penn Station, the Gateway project needs to be built in sync with construction on Hudson Yards. When complete, the tunnel will have nine-foot-thick concrete walls to support it from the weight of the megadevelopment above it. The pilons for the Hudson Yards deck, however, need to be built along with the construction of the tunnel.
Funding for the tunnel is largely dependent upon federal funding, but the Trump administration has not yet made it clear whether or not it will provide funding for the project. Funds provided by Amtrak along with Federal funds that came through after Superstorm Sandy helped to build the first two sections of the tunnel. Plans then called for New York and New Jersey to split the cost with the federal government on the final section.
With federal budget cuts looming, the fate of the project remains uncertain. Amtrack Chairman Tony Coscia, however, says he will not let these issues stand in the way of construction. At a recent Association for a Better New York breakfast event, he announced that construction on the project will start within the next six months despite a lack of commitment from the Trump administration. Coscia seems confident that construction will commence sometime after March 2018 when the environmental review process for the project is complete.
MTA Reveals Gangway Subway Car Prototypes
While the city is still years away from putting a new fleet of open gangway subway cars into service, they have taken a major step toward making it happen by revealing two prototypes of the R211 cars. Located behind a partition wall at the West 34th Street Hudson Yards 7 train stop, the subway trains have blue and yellow stripes along with the New York state seal. The blue and yellow scheme continues into the car, which features yellow floor mats that will direct people where to stand. The seats and poles will also reportedly be yellow while the new trains will include digital display screens showing the layout of stations.
City Scaffolding to Get an Upgrade
Urban Umbrella, which creates scaffolding from recycled steel and translucent plastic panels, will soon be bringing its style to New York City. The company, which was founded after 28-year-old designer Young-Hwan Choi won the 2010 Big Apple competition, has been perfecting its scaffolding system in Toronto and is now ready to return to New York with the final product. The innovative scaffolding system looks like an open umbrella with built-in LED lighting that can be customized with different colors. By allowing for the cross bracing from traditional scaffolding to be removed, the design creates a sidewalk cover that feels more open and less boxy. The two construction sites where the new scaffolding can be viewed are at the Flatiron office building at 20 W. 22nd Street and the City Hall condo at 19 Murray Street.