downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 25 | November 3 - 9, 2006

progress report/construction commander

Monitoring Downtown's construction day by day

By Charles J. Maikish

A year and a half ago I began my tenure as the executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, which was created by Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, through joint executive orders on November 22, 2004. The Command Center is vigorously involved in every aspect of the day-to-day coordination of construction work Downtown, with a concentration on mitigating construction impacts.

Between 2006 and 2012, Lower Manhattan will see an unprecedented amount of construction, comprised of work running from Canal St. to Battery Park, transforming the area.

We are currently involved in overseeing and coordinating more than 50 projects in Lower Manhattan. The value of construction now underway, or about to begin, totals $10 billion, with an estimated $22 billion to be invested over the next five years. This includes $3 billion in transportation projects such as the WTC PATH terminal, South Ferry subway station and Fulton Transit Center, the $1.8 billion Goldman Sachs headquarters, several large residential projects, road and city infrastructure reconstruction, utility relocation and renewal, and various projects on the World Trade Center site itself.

Behind the scenes, the staff of the Command Center is planning this historic transformation in minute detail. We are continually working with the public and private partners involved in the rebuilding and revitalization to ensure that we adhere to the ambitious rebuilding timeline while minimizing the impact of construction on the community.

In sheer size, the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan is a monumental task. We estimate that over the next five years, this effort will require 1.5 million cubic yards of concrete and 350,000 tons of steel, all of which will be brought in on 400,000 trucks and put in place by an estimated 10,000 construction workers. We have been working with industry leaders to identify construction schedules and develop a logistics plan to manage the movement of construction workers, materials and equipment to the area. Moreover, we are diligently taking all appropriate steps to minimize disruption to the residential and business community through the development and implementation of a detailed and coordinated logistics plan.

We host weekly construction coordination meetings to address issues of concern and to obtain progress reports on projects from each of the agencies and private entities involved. It is a planning measure that goes a long way toward heading off redundant and unnecessary work and resolving and discussing issues on a microscopic level in order to prevent more dramatic problems in the future.

We have identified traffic management, mobility, and logistics as our highest priorities. To this end, later this fall we intend to launch an Enforcement Task Force which will be comprised of representatives from the city's Department of Transportation, Police Department and Department of Buildings. Under the watchful eye of the Command Center's city operations director, the Enforcement Task Force will meet on a daily basis to review pending permits, identify problems areas and to deploy enforcement personnel to those areas as needed. This task force will represent a core force of agents to resolve day-to-day issues.

We are simultaneously working to ensure the environment that we live, work, and play in is maintained. The Command Center is responsible for area-wide air and noise monitoring in Lower Manhattan and for monitoring and enforcing environmental performance commitments among contractors. We have a staff of inspectors monitoring the sites daily. Additionally, we have four fixed air monitoring stations throughout downtown, and the results are posted daily on our Web site (www.lowermanhattan.info) for the community's review.

By carefully balancing the enormous amount of construction taking place, the Command Center is working to ensure that Lower Manhattan is positioned as the premier 21st-century central business district, and that the quality of life Downtown is maintained and significantly improved. Individual programs within the L.M.C.C.C. focus on meeting key goals. Opportunity Downtown is one such program in which we work closely with our agency partners and project sponsors to ensure there are ample opportunities for minorities and women on construction projects throughout Lower Manhattan. Additional programs include fraud prevention and community relations.

Our Community Relations Department has responsibility for public outreach to the Lower Manhattan community. To facilitate public awareness, this department both leads and participates in community meetings and events in order to provide information regarding construction projects and their impact. We recently had our first town hall meeting and are looking forward to future successful information sessions.

Charles J. Maikish is the executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.

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