Home Second Avenue Subway Work halted at 72nd St. SAS site, for now

Work halted at 72nd St. SAS site, for now

by Benjamin Kabak

Crews sweep debris off of Second Avenue in the aftermath of yesterday’s explosion. (Photo via Noray Joseph)

In the aftermath of yesterday’s explosion in the 72nd St. station cavern, the MTA has suspended work at the site pending an investigation. Neighbors and politicians, long wary of the disruptive project, are clamoring for answers, and MTA head Joe Lhota hopes to give them some. He said in a statement released late last night:

“What happened at the Second Avenue Subway construction site today is completely unacceptable. The MTA is investigating what went wrong and will not resume work at the 72nd Street site until we receive a full explanation for what happened and a plan to make sure it does not happen again. While I am thankful that no one was injured today, I fully understand why neighbors of the construction site are upset. I am, too. The safety of the community is the MTA’s utmost priority. We will continue working with the community to ensure their concerns are heard and acted upon.”

Meanwhile, as information begins to trickle out, there are some causes for concern. Despite the overall safety of this project — it’s orders of magnitude safer than it was 100 years ago — the contractors may not be doing enough to fully ensure the protection of these active work zones. One source said to amNew York’s Marc Beja that the deck on the street was “not able to withstand the force of the blast because it was not anchored in.” I’m sure we’ll hear more stories like this in the coming weeks.

You may also like


Bruce M August 22, 2012 - 12:08 pm

So much for December, 2016!

Benjamin Kabak August 22, 2012 - 12:09 pm

We’ll see. They had some leeway in the current schedule. I don’t think anyone is prepared to say this will push that date back quite yet.

JJ August 22, 2012 - 12:38 pm

Let’s get the politicians and NIMBY crowd involved … it will never end

bill b August 22, 2012 - 1:19 pm

Maybe they miscounted the amount of charge they were using or they used too much for the blast. They could have been a little too aggressive trying to make the timetable. Were they using blast mats.

al August 22, 2012 - 2:49 pm

They usually have steel tarps to contain the blasts, but they apparently didn’t do this right. The blasting was for an escalator shaft. The shaft is on E72nd St.

From the NY Times:

From The Launch Box blog:

One can see the shaft’s angle going down to the subway below. It is at an angle. They might had set the charges at an angle and not taken it into account for blast containment tarp placement.

R. Graham August 22, 2012 - 7:26 pm

Well at least the shaft is completed for the most part sooner than expected. 😛

al August 22, 2012 - 11:46 pm

Another thing to consider is detonation pacing and sequencing. If you detonate all the charges at once, the shock might throw the tarp off. If the total set of charges go in 2 blocs, the cumulative size of the first set is to be small enough not to throw the tarps off and expose the rest.

marvin August 22, 2012 - 1:58 pm

perfection is what we expect of others but not ourselves.
in a project this size to have just one deviant event may be an indication of greatness, not negligance.
In seeking perfection, we will get nothing done (which is how many people would like it and may be using this event as an excuse.)

remember: in baseball one who fails 60% of the time is a .400 hitter!

Jerrold August 22, 2012 - 2:50 pm

They haven’t had TIME yet to use this event as an excuse, but the problem is that any day now they will START to do so.

Benjamin Kabak August 22, 2012 - 2:52 pm

Too cynical for me. Did the crane accident, subsequent death and work stoppage at the 7 Line delay the project any more than it had already been delayed? Nope, and this one won’t either.

Jerrold August 22, 2012 - 6:11 pm

Ben, I hope to hell that you’re right!

R. Graham August 22, 2012 - 7:29 pm

It won’t because the business want this done already. There are some business that took the risk of opening a businesses after construction started in hopes that the project would finish quickly and they could reap the benefits. I can assure you the current business whether open before or after the project broke ground wants nothing more to do with the construction barriers and would like to see the contractor get back to work ASAP.

Hank August 22, 2012 - 6:33 pm

It depends on how much some local politicos might want to demagogue off of this

Peter August 22, 2012 - 8:25 pm

Meanwhile, down the street from me the guys on the Culver Viaduct project have been building a scaffolding for four-plus weeks to cover about a block of sidewalk.

Nathaniel August 24, 2012 - 12:06 am

From the Wall Street Journal a few hours ago- work will resume at the site.


Leave a Comment