Wheel in the Sky

We’re hard at work on Staten Island, in New York City, where last weekend we finished the second of two massive concrete pours for the foundation of the New York Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that will rise over the southern end of New York Harbor and provide unique views of the Manhattan skyline. Our team has been working at the site — adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal — for 13 months, preparing the foundation for the 950-unit parking garage.

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Our team executed two massive concrete placements – several weeks apart – for the observation wheel pile caps, beginning work at 3 AM on each day to coordinate each of the 13-hour, 400 truck operations. Each placement saw nearly 4,000 cubic yards of 10,000 psi, self-consolidating concrete that was placed continuously over 14 hours. The pile caps are founded on 96 drilled shafts installed by underpinning and foundation group.  Each shaft is 67 inches in diameter and approximately 110 feet deep. Underpinning Foundation Group (UFS) offered an alternative reinforcement method for the shafts that saved time and space. Our engineering team designed a sheet pile support of excavation, utilizing a mud mat as bearing so that the excavation was free of walers and struts.

The operation was so well planned, teams wrapped up the first pour several hours ahead of schedule.

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Our teams collaborated and created a thorough plan and schedule to ensure the project’s success. The Boston office provided the initial 3D modeling which was a valuable resource to our team in coordinating the installation of the reinforcing steel and embedment system.  “This project allowed Skanska to demonstrate its ability to employ its diverse capabilities for a common goal” said Atul Murthy, field engineer.

Each of the pile caps is forty feet wide, eleven feet deep and approximately the length of a football field. Because of the heat generated by a concrete placement of this size, a cooling system had to be employed. Thousands of feet of cooling pipe was installed in the foundation, which were fed chilled water by a chiller plant assembled on site. Four local concrete plants supplied 85 dedicated trucks to the placements. Three concrete conveyors were used to execute the operation.

As part of the pour, New York Wheel President & CEO Rich Marin presided over a short ceremony that saw the burying of a time capsule in the Skanska-poured foundation, set to be opened in 630 years (signifying a year for every foot of elevation of the Wheel).  Check out the video of the ceremony to find out the contents of the time capsule and see it being buried in the foundation:

The Wheel is predicted to be the tallest of its kind in the world, surpassing the Las Vegas “High Roller” – which is 550 feet tall – and is predicted to attract 3.5 million visitors a year, according to its creators. The structure will begin to rise later this summer.

For more on The New York Wheel click here.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Building Bridges, Connecting Communities

With our joint venture partners, Kiewit and ECCO III Enterprises, Skanska is building the new Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City, with construction of the first of the two 275-foot towers that will support the main span complete.

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The first of two towers for the new Kosciuszko Bridge, next to the existing bridge. An identical tower will be constructed on the opposite creek bank and the roadway will run between them. At right, one of the two bridge approaches is also visible.

This will be a busy summer of work on the project. Installation of the steel girders for the main span’s new roadway deck and the cable stays that will attach the roadway is underway.  The portions of the bridge in Brooklyn and Queens that lead to the main span (the approaches) are nearing completion. And construction is ongoing on the sections of the bridge in Brooklyn and Queens that will connect the existing Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) to the new BQE, which will cross over the creek.

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A rendering of the new Kosciusko Bridge.

The Kosciuszko Bridge in New York is one of the city’s oldest bridges, constructed in 1939 and spanning the Newtown Creek, linking the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. As a critical artery for intracity traffic – the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) runs over it – the new bridge will carry traffic between Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn and the Long Island Expressway Interchange in Queens, requiring the team to reconstruct and realign more than 11 local streets in Brooklyn.

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At left, the northbound approach to the new Kosciuszko Bridge will provide a less-steep grade that allows traffic to maintain more even speeds.

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The majestic new cable-stayed Kosciuszko Bridge will transform the skyline between Brooklyn and Queens. It will also feature wider travel lanes, standard shoulders and a reduced roadway incline, enabling trucks to maintain a consistent speed on the bridge. New parks and open spaces in the local communities and improved waterfront access will also be part of the project.

For additional information on the project, visit www.dot.ny.gov/kbridge.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Breaking Ground at LaGuardia

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Vice President of The United States Joe Biden, and a host of officials gathered at LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday to mark the start of construction of the Central Terminal Building – a key milestone for the project that is expected to help grow the airport into a world-class “front door to New York City,” according to the Governor.

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Vice President Joe Biden and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo share the stage at the official groundbreaking for the new LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Project on Tuesday, June 14. Credit: Michael Benabib.

LaGuardia will be our largest global project ever, with a 70 percent share of the $4 billion contract, worth about $2.8 billion, and the largest public-private partnership in the United States.  As part of LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP), Skanska will help to finance, design and build a piece of this critical air hub, which is on pace to set a record in excess of 27 million passengers this year with 34 million anticipated by 2030.

“LaGuardia is a key driver of New York’s economy and transportation network, but for far too long it has been outdated, overcrowded, and unworthy of the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said at the announcement.  “Today, we are not just breaking ground – we are building an entirely new LaGuardia and transforming it into a world-class transportation gateway for the 21st century. This state has always been built to lead and now that legacy continues with this unprecedented project that will drive growth and generate continued prosperity for generations to come.”

See new renderings for LaGuardia on the Governor’s flickr site, here.

The vision for the new LaGuardia includes the world’s first dual pedestrian bridges spanning active aircraft taxi lanes and connecting the terminal to concourses A and B.  The plan also includes a new 35-gate Terminal B, Central Hall, West Garage and related roadways and supporting infrastructure. The more than 1.3 million square feet of the new Central Terminal B is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification for sustainable design, a designation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Vice President Biden explained how the project exemplified what the United States needs the most at the moment – a reinvestment in critical infrastructure to fuel the economy. “The greatest city in the world needs the greatest infrastructure in the world. We rank 26th in the world in transportation infrastructure. How can that stand? New York will make an enormous difference in our economic resurgence.”

The Vice President also lauded the economic activity that will be created by the project – both temporary and permanent – including the union workers that will build the project, which is predicted to generate $1.3 billion in wages and $5.2 billion in regional economic activity, according to PANYNJ.

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Skanska’s Mike Viggiano, Richard Kennedy and Magnus Eriksson (5th, 6th and 8th from left, respectively) participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking for LaGuardia’s new Central Terminal Project on Tuesday, June 14. Credit: Michael Benabib.

“Governor Cuomo’s commitment to a modern, 21st Century Central Terminal at LaGuardia carries on the legacy of the airport’s namesake,” said Richard Cavallaro, President and CEO of Skanska USA. “Much like Mayor LaGuardia, who pushed for an airport in the city, the governor’s vision for building a modern facility at LaGuardia through a public-private partnership model not only will make getting to New York City easier for millions of people every year, it is a blueprint for how to smartly rebuild our country’s infrastructure. Skanska is honored to be part of the consortium that is financing and rebuilding an essential part of New York City’s transportation network.”

During construction, the existing terminal will remain fully operational and flights will not be affected. New facilities will begin opening in 2018, with scheduled substantial completion in 2022.

You can watch the entire ceremony here:

 

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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From atop the Empire State Building on 9/11, pride in our work rebuilding the World Trade Center

We all have heard the term circle of life. Most say it refers to the symbolic representation of birth, survival and death. In school, we were taught that a circle has no beginning or end. In other words, we can say a circle ends at the start point; life ends at the beginning point, and starts over again. At some point in your life, you will experience some form of this. For me, it seems that 9/11 has opened my eyes to this circle.

Forty years and four months ago, I was a young tourist from Holland, Pa., on a Catholic grade school class trip to New York City, a place of mind-blowing vastness. While visiting, back in 1975, the place everyone had to go was the Empire State Building. It opened a new world for us, as until then the trees we climbed as kids were the highest places we had even been. It was everything the chaperones could do to keep the bunch of us rowdy kids from climbing up on the metal bars high atop on the observation deck. We had no fear – truly, we were at the top of the world! Like every other person who has visited, we took countless pictures: of course, one shot was a picture of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, new to the skyline by only a few years and boasting of kingship in the city’s silhouette. Truly, it was a childhood experience that no one ever forgets.

The original World Trade Center stands proudly in this photo taken by Irvin on his 1975 grade school class trip to New York City. It hangs in his office today.

The original World Trade Center stands proudly in this photo taken by General Superintendent Mark Irvin on his 1975 grade school class trip to New York City. It hangs in his office today.

I never came back to the city, not until September 2001. Four days after 9/11, I found myself at the World Trade Center site along with other construction workers, drawn to the city to help in any way possible. We spent the day – 16 hours – simply carrying water to the rescue teams. Then we went home to our families, to sob, like most of the world. Again, I thought I would never go back, believing that the circle was complete. Then, a few years later I was asked to join the Skanska joint venture that was helping reconstruct the World Trade Center: I committed without hesitation, obligated by my honor, pride and emotion. Those that know me, those that have read my novelettes about the years I spent working to rebuild the World Trade Center, know the passion, pride and commitment I and my teammates have to be part of such a construction project, one that is a testament to the strength of the American people. It’s ironic that I came back to New York City for a purpose of which one would never think.

And yet, the circle of life – having no ending – continues. I finished my tour of duty at the World Trade Center, near six years of memories, tears and smiles. And as life continues, so do new opportunities, new construction projects. As I write this on September 11, I am high atop the Empire State Building once again, almost in the exact same spot that I visited as a kid. Now, I am rejuvenating the 84-year-old building’s mooring mast, which runs between the 90th and 101st floors, some quarter mile in the air. Call it fate or destiny, but I see the new World Trade Center every night my team and I are up here: it’s back in our hearts, and back to having a commanding position in the city’s skyline.

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One World Trade Center, as seen in the distance from Irvin’s current project atop the Empire State Building.

On September 11, we remember, honor and respect those who have lost, and those who have fought for us and continue to do so. On this night, my team – a small part of the many millions who bow their heads today – are especially proud to be Americans. We are even prouder when we look south and see resiliency at its finest.

The circle of life is not a myth, for I have witnessed birth, survival, death and full-circle re-birth. I truly am proud to have been part of bringing the World Trade Center back to life, proud of my teammates who continue to strive to reach its completion and proud to be part of this nation. Please don’t judge any step of life’s path as more important or advanced than the others. Wherever we are, it’s perfect!

For just a moment, take a break and bask in the greatness that’s all around you. See your family, your friends and all of your life. Never forget that day, I ask. The circle is never complete.

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Skanska cranes last year working to build the Oculus entrance portal to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. Our teams bring much passion, pride and commitment to the World Trade Center rebuilding effort. 

Mark Irvin

General superintendent, Skanska USA

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