New York City Transit initiated this project to provide ADA Accessibility and station renewal of the Astoria Boulevard (Hoyt Avenue) Station. LiRo is providing resident engineering management and inspection services for this federally funded project during preconstruction, construction, and closeout phases.
About the Project
Four new elevators and major structural and electrical rehabilitation will occur at this elevated station. Additionally, some Superstorm Sandy recovery work and a number of DDC pedestrian safety improvements are also being performed.
Project Challenges & Solutions
The station and project is located at three of the busiest street intersections in Astoria, Queens, directly above 31st Street. 31st Street crosses these three streets under this station, and it also crosses over the Grand Central Parkway.
Maintaining and protecting the high volumes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic at the street level is one of the key challenges of this project, as is respecting the high-density residential neighborhood while performing construction activities. The project schedule assumes that a significant portion of the mezzanine demolition and reconstruction will occur when the 31st Street intersection is fully closed. NY Mets games, US Open tournament and local festivals restrict when this intersection can be closed. LiRo performed extensive coordination with NYCDOT OCMC to facilitate permits to close the 31st Street intersection over certain weekends. The weekend traffic in the project area is significantly high. To maintain the detours during the intersection closures, LiRo coordinated with NYPD to schedule as many as 25 traffic agents and several pedestrian managers.
Since the project is immediately to the east of the RFK Bridge, LiRo also worked with TBTA so that this project and the planned TBTA projects on the RFK Bridge are properly coordinated. Prior to initiating a series of intersection closures, LiRo made presentations to the community boards, local senior center, and the Councilman’s office. LiRo thoroughly explained the need and potential impact of such intersection closures on the traffic and the inconvenience that the community will have to bear for the long-term benefit. As a result, there have been no complaints from the community regarding the construction of this project.
The project includes a nine-month period during which the station will be shut down and trains bypass the station. It is critical to maximize the construction work done during this period. Even though the station is shut down for nine months, the trains continue to run by skipping this station. The train service has to be shut down for any demolition and construction activity that impacts the train clearance requirements or needs access to the track level. A planned general order (GO) facilitates such access for construction activity. LiRo diligently worked with the contractor and NYCT operations to plan and secure such GOs so that the contractor can proceed with the work. Complexities increased when some construction activities required shutting down of the train service and closing of the 31st Street intersection simultaneously. LiRo facilitated extensive planning and coordination with the contractor for such activities. It was quite common to have more than 100 construction workers working on multiple tasks on site to maximize the work during such weekends. LiRo personnel provided continuous coverage of coordination during such 48 hour-GOs with NYCT operations. LiRo inspectors and safety personnel worked through these weekends to monitor the work.
The completion of this project will mean a safer, more accessible Astoria Boulevard Station. With new elevators, stairs, walkways, and many other rehabilitated features, the station will be better situated for all users, including those needing special access and pedestrians.