Volume 19 Issue 48 | April 13 - 19, 2007

Remains search closes lane on West St.

Downtown drivers should stay alert this spring, as the city’s continuing search for human remains around the World Trade Center site has necessitated lane closures, traffic rerouting and parking restrictions on the Lower West Side.

After several months of excavating the haul road along the western side of the W.T.C. site, workers in early March discovered four ramps leading from the haul road under what is now West St. Because the ramps date from the time immediately following 9/11, the city has decided to excavate the area to recover any W.T.C. materials — and therefore possible human remains — that might be there.

The renewed search for human remains began last fall after Con Edison workers found debris and remains from the Twin Towers collapse in a manhole beneath the haul road. The search is expected to last through November 2007 and cost around $30 million.

The West St. excavation began April 9 and will continue until May 13. To accommodate this search, one of the three northbound lanes of West St. will be closed, 24 hours a day, from Liberty St. up to Vesey St. The other two northbound lanes will remain open.

To accommodate traffic, the city Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists exiting the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to take Trinity Pl. (Church St.) north to Barclay St. or Chambers St. before rejoining West St. Drivers planning to take the F.D.R. Drive through the South Street Tunnel are encouraged to select a different route.

To relieve the anticipated increase in traffic on side streets, the D.O.T. has added “No Stopping” or “No Standing” parking restrictions to parts of Chambers, Barclay, Rector and Albany Sts. In an April 4 press release, the D.O.T. warned that it will enforce a zero tolerance policy regarding the new parking restrictions. Extra tow trucks will troll the area, removing violators to the Manhattan Tow Pound.

Some pedestrians and bus riders will also have to make minor adjustments for the next month. During the West St. excavation, there will be no at-grade crossing at Vesey St., so all pedestrians will have to use the Vesey St. bridge. Also, the M20 bus stop at the corner of Albany St. and South End Ave. will be temporarily relocated to the southeast corner of the intersection.

For a complete explanation of traffic changes and parking restrictions, visit

— Skye H. McFarlane

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