Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sewer Replacement To Disrupt Traffic Around Fulton Center and Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan has some of the oldest infrastructure in Manhattan since it is home to some of the oldest portions of the city. That infrastructure needs to be maintained and upgraded from time to time, so it's not surprising that the DEP needs to undertake a 48-month sewer replacement project on Broadway from Ann Street down to Rector Street. If those blocks sound familiar, it's because the Fulton Street Transit Hub (now called Fulton Center) is nearing completion after years of construction, and John/Dey Street is a nexus of construction (for Pace dorms and Fulton Center work). Just a block away, the World Trade Center construction is slowly rebuilding the site.

In other words, it's yet another multi-year construction project that local residents and businesses will have to contend with.
City officials told residents at a meeting Tuesday night that two lanes of Broadway would stay open at all times, said Ro Sheffe, chairman of Community Board 1's Financial District Committee.

The officials also said the work would begin with the two-block section of Broadway between Ann and John streets, moving south after about 18 months, Sheffe said. The city initially planned to start at Rector Street instead and move north, but the old water pipes are causing leaks at the Fulton Center so that section needs to be fixed first, Sheffe said.

Residents at Tuesday's meeting were unhappy to hear about such a large and potentially disruptive project.

"It desperately needs doing and we all recognize that," Sheffe said. "But we've been beset by construction for 10 years down here, and to hear about four more years is very upsetting."

Other major water main projects Downtown, such as those ongoing on Hudson and Chambers streets, drew complaints from residents and business owners who said the work was noisy and unsightly and caused traffic problems.

The DDC officials promised Tuesday night to have traffic control officers on Broadway during the entire four years of the project, Sheffe said.
Considering that the World Trade Center construction will drag on for at least another half decade, the area wont finally be able to free itself from the gauntlet of construction sites along major thoroughfares for at least that long.

But, when the projects are done, the area will have new infrastructure, new access points for the subway system, PATH, and new class A office space, plus new retail and residential opportunities.

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