At NYC’s World Trade Center, “no other project will matter more”

Over the upcoming weeks and months we will be sharing stories of how we’re #BuildingWhatMatters. We start with this story of one of Skanska’s most significant projects: our work at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub on the site where New York City’s Twin Towers stood. We are honored to still be contributing to the rebuilding of that hallowed place through projects that exemplify our efforts to Build What Matters. In this blog post, Paul Shapiro, a member of our World Trade Center PATH Hall construction team, explains how our work is resulting in far more than a transportation complex: it’s a symbol of hope, rebirth and New York’s unstoppable spirit.

Commuters passing through the World Trade Center site may never forget the tragedy and loss that occurred there, but they may not be aware of the people who were diligent about keeping the subway and city running in the aftermath of the attacks. They’ll never know the superintendent who gave up a year’s worth of weekends to run an ironworker crew hanging a quarter-mile section of subway 60 feet in mid-air; the dock builder walking upstairs after his shift ends, covered in mud and sweat from drilling piles through bedrock that hasn’t been disturbed for millions of years; or the field engineer pacing back and forth as she ensures the design she’s worked on for months is now being built according to plan. It has been our honor to do the quiet, unseen work that is part of a modern marvel of ingenuity that helps 250,000 people get to where they need to go every day.

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Skanska cranes last year working to build the Oculus entrance portal to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

Beneath the 9/11 Memorial, Skanska lathers and carpenters once worked nearly around the clock to install hundreds of tons of rebar and acres of formwork in order to open the memorial on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. We were so proud that day. The benches there are anchored into a concrete slab that workers poured from dawn to dusk to meticulous precision.

Today, we are working on the final phase of PATH platforms and tracks. A passerby may see our safety manager discussing proper tie-off procedures with an electrician in an aerial lift.  Or spot a quality control manager writing his daily report as the painter he’s watching packs up for the day. Or see one of our interns gathering that day’s soil manifests to ensure we stay environmentally safe. For school children walking by, we hope to pique their curiosity to follow in similar footsteps, so they can someday build a project that matters like the World Trade Center PATH Hall.

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A view inside the WTC transportation center.

Someone walking inside the World Financial Center, across the street from the WTC, will not see a 78-inch-diameter sewer line hidden in the ceiling. This pipe serves all of lower Manhattan, just one of the many utilities that were temporarily – and now permanently – supported by timbermen a few years back while working inches below the West Side Highway. Also inside, you might walk past a tin knocker completing a run of ductwork to provide heat for the final segment of this underground link; our masons grouting the last stone just as carefully as the first because each one matters; or a project manager chatting with the owner about what a successful project it’s been for all involved.

Other construction projects might have also installed more than 10,000 tons of rebar, poured more than 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, erected more than 14,000 tons of steel, ran more than 22 miles of pipe, installed more than 250,000 square feet of marble, and safely returned home more than 2,600 employees each night, all being very significant numbers. But no other project will matter more than what we’ve built at the World Trade Center since 9/11. What it means to the people of New York City and the entire world brings all of us together in the same way it has bonded our team since the job began. It truly transcends time by linking the past with the present and future, similar to how Skanska’s work constructing foundations on the original WTC site connects with our work today. The significance of this project is unparalleled on so many fronts. There is no doubt that we are building what matters.

How are you #BuildingWhatMatters? Share your stories with us on Twitter @SkanskaUSA.

Paul Shapiro

Paul Shapiro

Assistant project manager

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