It’s been a little more than four months since we last heard a full update on the status of the new South Ferry station. During an MTA Board committee presentation at the end of 2013, John O’Grady presented some options for an elevated and protected signal room and explained how the new station would likely open by mid-2016. In another update set to be delivered to the Capital Program Oversight Committee on Monday, Transit has provided more details on the work and underscored the 2016 date. The new station will reopen nearly four years after Sandy.
The timing on the station comes from an independent review of the status of the job. According to the presentation, Transit will award a five-month demolition contract this month and a 24-month General Construction project in August. The rebuild — which is still on budget — would then wrap around August of 2016, as the MTA said four months ago. There is, of course, plenty of time for this project to fall behind schedule, but with nearly $600 million of federal funding supporting it, the pressure to deliver on time will be strong.
Meanwhile, this week’s presentation lists out the major scope items for the general rebuild. At the top of the list is grouting and leak mitigation, two problems that plagued the new station before it had even opened. Since the MTA has to essentially strip all of the finishes out of the destroyed station, crews have a second chance to get waterproofing right.
The other items on the list are fairly standard for any new station build out but with some twists for resiliency. The plans include modifications to critical structures (including the signal room), replacement of all communications and fiber optics systems; new signals, relays and third rail; and various other flood mitigation work including resilient stainless steel and glass entrances.
What I find most telling about this project, outside of the price tag, is the timing. It will have taken nearly the same amount of time to build the station originally as it will to completely reconstruct it after Sandy. In one sense, I’m being admittedly hyperbolic it’s taken nearly a year and a half to spec the work and issue contracts. But on the other hand, that’s an “inside baseball” distinction. Outwardly, to the general public, the new South Ferry station is a memory, and it will be for some time still.