Now arriving in NYC: Skanska’s completed World Trade Center Transportation Hub

For the last 15 years, lower Manhattan has been under construction. Building after building and milestone after milestone, New York City has been slowly rebounding – and healing – from the events of September 11, 2001. This week, another milestone marked the journey in that process, with Skanska’s substantial completion of six-and-a-half years of work on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus, opening the final part of the main passenger hall to the public.

Linking multiple subway and commuter rail lines, the completed Transportation Hub serves hundreds of thousands of commuters every day and contributes to the larger vision of a fully-rebuilt World Trade Center site.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson has been there from the start. Standing in the Hub’s soaring Oculus entrance hall, which opened in March 2016, he watched the masses of travelers flowing past him and reflected on his time there.

“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they walk through here gives you a sense of gratitude,” Gary says. “This is more than a construction project – this is a memorial for the families of those lost in the attacks. That’s something we felt every day working here. I’ll never build another project with this kind of emotional impact.”

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City.

Skanska Project Director Gary Thomson (left) and Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga share stories of more than six years of work in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus in New York City. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Great obstacles

Skanska’s joint venture at the World Trade Center faced unique challenges in delivering the project, most of which is underground. The Hub’s main section sits below the National September 11 Memorial, which opened in 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks. To allow that to happen on time, Skanska built the Hub from the top down, rather than from the bottom up, a non-traditional construction approach that added and additional layer of complexity.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11 and marked the substantial completion of the project.

The newest and final section of the WTC Transportation Hub PATH tracks opened to the public days before September 11, 2016 and marked the substantial completion of the project. Credit: Michael Benabib.

The No. 1 subway line bisects the Hub’s subterranean site, and it needed to stay operational during construction. So while the subway was suspended 70 feet in the air, Skanska crews built under, over and around it. They also safely built around the thousands of commuters, as they went to and from a temporary plywood-and-concrete train terminal.

Further complicating Skanska’s work was Hurricane Sandy, which in 2012 flooded the subterranean project with some 40 feet of floodwater, more than 200 million gallons.

“When Sandy hit, we had to take a big step back. We were able to quickly and safely switch gears, get new equipment in and rebuild,” said Project Superintendent Wayne Paliga. “A further adjustment was keeping the station active while building these final platforms, which was a constant and everyday challenge we were proud to overcome.”

The complex logistics of the World Trade Center site itself – with many structures being built simultaneously – further challenged our crews. At one point, 13 cranes and more than 4,000 workers were packed into the five city blocks of the site.

“I’m very proud of our teams that we finally got to the finish line,” Gary says. “It’s been a long time coming.”

One of the support beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 211, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub.

One of the foundation beams of the original Twin Towers, destroyed on September 11, 2001, seen below the floor of the newest PATH platform inside the Transportation Hub. Credit: Michael Benabib.

Rising again

Visitors to the Transportation Hub are now greeted with expanses of smooth Italian marble and huge exposed steel beams that ripple overhead – all of it pure white. It’s a place teeming with life, but also a place to remember what happened 15 years ago. Reminders of that day are throughout the Hub, including visible sections of the original Twin Towers’ steel framework and concrete foundation (both built by Skanska in the 1970s).

It’s also a place to be proud of the tremendous efforts of those who labored to bring this hallowed ground back to life.

“We’ve come back from the ashes,” says Gary, who lost two close friends on 9/11. “It’s all back together now after so many years.”

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 the Future at LaGuardia Airport

This is a bright moment in the history of Skanska.

Today we take pride in announcing that we — as member of LaGuardia Gateway Partners — have become the official redeveloper for LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal Building in New York City. It is our largest global project ever, at approximately $4 billion, and the largest public-private partnership in the United States.

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The importance of this project cannot be overstated, and will have a positive impact on air travel in the United States, with a ripple effect that will be felt around the world. It’s also terrific news for the local New York City community, which will benefit from the jobs created building and operating the new terminal.

The vision for the new LaGuardia is exciting, with the world’s first dual pedestrian bridges spanning above 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.

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We’re excited to start work on the new LaGuardia Airport right away, with most of the new terminal opening in 2020 and substantial completion during 2022.

You can read more about the project here and at the LaGuardia Gateway Partners website here.

Renderings credit LaGuardia Gateway Partners

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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Safety is Everyone’s Business and Teamwork Makes It Happen

May 2-6 marks Skanska’s 12th annual Safety Week – and the 3rd annual Construction Industry Safety Week, where we and 50 of our peer construction firms pause to take a closer look at how “safety is the thread that ties us together.”  We asked Bill Flemming, President & CEO of Skanska USA building, to share his thoughts on the importance of workplace safety.

As a leader in construction, it’s our obligation to deliver our projects safely, using innovative and sustainable solutions with great efficiency and quality. Creating an Injury Free Environment® – one that sends every worker home every night the same way they came to us in the morning – is of paramount importance. To me, we are not successful if we put our workers at risk to deliver projects. We work safely, or not at all.

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Bill Flemming (center), President and CEO of Skanska Building, tours a NYC project site during Safety Week 2016.

A zero lost-time accident rate doesn’t happen by chance. It takes thoughtful planning and execution to ensure the safety of everyone involved. After the work is done, acknowledging what went well – and identifying what didn’t – leads to better preparations for the next time. We are continually raising the bar on how we work to create the safest work environment possible.

Safety extends beyond the job site as well, into our offices and our homes. Sometimes the simplest and most repetitive of tasks are the ones that present the most overlooked dangers. Making safety a part of our everyday habits – for ourselves and our friends and families – will also get us to a zero accidents.

Two years ago, I asked everyone at Skanska USA Building to make a personal safety pledge. At the same time, I made a pledge to visit more of our projects with the purpose of talking to our workers about the importance of safety.

For Safety Week this year, I visited job sites with my peers from Hunter Roberts and Lend Lease, and we talked about the importance of safety in everything we do. We agreed that anything that makes our sites safer was worth doing together in full collaboration.  Moving forward, we will be developing a unified orientation program that can apply to all three organizations, which will save each firm from doing individual programs for a new employee. This cross-company approach will make our workers safer and provide more consistency to our safety protocols.

On those job site visits this week, I also witnessed, first-hand, the lengths our workers go to in creating an injury-free environment on our projects. Their dedication to safety was inspiring and tells me we can get to zero accidents on all of our job sites all the time.  It takes everyone committed to making it happen.

Bill Flemming

Bill Flemming

President, Skanska USA Building

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By the Numbers: How We Built the WTC Transportation Hub and Oculus

The New York City World Trade Center Transportation Hub and winged Oculus that sits atop it was incredibly complex to build.

We developed this infographic to explain just how our workers did it:

2016 INFOGRAPHIC-WTCOculus

Check out the story of the construction – in our employees own words – 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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This week, celebrate the infrastructure on which we all depend

May 12-16 is Infrastructure Week, celebrating the emerging solutions, innovative approaches and best practices in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, on which the U.S. economy depends. Infrastructure is at the core of what Skanska does,  with projects ranging from public-private partnerships like Elizabeth River Tunnels in Hampton Roads, Va., to transit projects like the Expo Line Phase 2 in Los Angeles. Here’s a look at some of the key numbers associated with these and other infrastructure projects completed or underway by Skanska and our partners:

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The Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility uses 56 massive UV units to neutralize waterborne pathogens in New York City’s drinking water supply.

2 billion gallons: Amount of water that can be treated daily at the Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility in Mount Pleasant, N.Y. The facility, which was completed last year, is the largest of its kind in the world.

1.5 miles: Length of the 7 Line subway extension in New York City, between Times Square and the rapidly growing Hudson Yards section.

46 minutes: Time it will take to travel between Los Angeles and Santa Monica – even during rush hour – on the Expo Line Phase 2 light rail. When the full line opens, estimated ridership is expected to reach 64,000 daily riders by 2030.

14,600 tons: Amount of blacktop needed to repair 14 miles of Colorado’s Highway 7 after a 1,000-year flood destroyed portions of it in September 2013. Our team repaired the stretch of highway over six-and-a-half weeks, with crews working 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week to finish the road ahead of schedule.

442 feet: Length of the tunnel boring machine – nicknamed Lady Bird – that our team is using to bore a 13-mile tunnel 100 feet under Washington, D.C., to hold sewage awaiting processing at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.

21 miles: Length of the stretch of Interstate 4  in Orlando, Fla., for which the I-4 Mobility Partners team  – of which Skanska is a part – has been selected to design, build, finance, operate and maintain improvements through a P3 agreement. This P3 approach will enable the Florida Department of Transportation to deliver these essential highway improvements – including reconstruction of 15 major interchanges and replacement of more than 75 bridges – 20 years sooner.

For an inside look at some of Skanska’s infrastructure projects, check out these posts 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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What’s it like building a New York City subway?

In some ways, Skanska’s work expanding New York City’s labyrinth of subways is like most of our other heavy civil assignments across the nation: blasting rock, moving earth and pouring concrete are common tasks everywhere, as is ensuring the unimpeded and safe passage of pedestrians and traffic.

But in other ways, working beneath the Big Apple’s streets is an undertaking found few other places. You might not see daylight for your entire shift, and your mobile phone likely won’t have service. Roaming in this different world are tunnel-boring machines, which use their heft – up to five stories tall and stretching the length of a football field – to carve subway tubes out of hard Manhattan schist. And as everything going to and coming from an underground site is transported through an access shaft, the crane atop that shaft becomes your lifeline.

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Up to 16 inches of sprayed-on concrete is part of the structural system for the new 86th Street subway station in New York City. (Photo: MTA Capital Construction)

Here are what some Skanska team members had to say about the experience:

“It’s like building a ship in a bottle.”

– Nick Vitucci, superintendent

“This is a different kind of job. Here, you have to create the area in which you work.”

– Mike Ceglio, safety engineer

“I’ve been on really long concrete pours from maybe 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Afterward, we’d surface and there might be a foot of snow on the ground – it had fallen when we were underground and we hadn’t expected it. Those are always interesting experiences.”

– Michael DeMonaco, field engineer

“Down here, everyone has each other’s back. You spend more time with your family down here than with your family at home. Everyone on our team is a really good person – salt of the earth.”

– John Kiernan, superintendent

In this video, our teams used their smartphones to capture one another describing what it’s like working on these projects.

Many roles in current subway expansions

Skanska’s roles in both of New York City’s major subway expansion projects cover all aspects of new subway construction, from the gritty tasks involved with shaping the rock to the detailed craftsmanship associated with installing the escalators, wall panels and signs that will be part of New Yorkers’ commutes for generations to come.

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Beneath yellow waterproofing material, a concrete form and rebar template are being readied to pour the arched ceiling at the 86th Street subway station. (Photo: MTA Capital Construction)

In our work bringing the Second Avenue Subway line to Manhattan’s dense Upper East Side, a joint venture of Skanska/Traylor is mining and concreting a cavern at 86th Street for a new subway station. This builds on previous work that a joint venture of Skanska/Shea/Schiavone performed in boring two 22-foot-diameter tunnels between 63rd and 92nd streets for the trains to roll.

On Manhattan’s Far West Side, a joint venture of Skanska/Railworks is installing architectural finishes and mechanical, signal and other systems in new tunnels and a new station to extend the No. 7 line to the city’s rapidly growing Hudson Yards section. Again, this adds to yet another joint venture that Skanska participated in (Shea/Schiavone/Skanska) in boring the tunnels – which extend 1.5 miles from the Times Square station – and building the structure of the new station.

 

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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A Q&A with architect Santiago Calatrava

Bill Flemming, president of Skanska USA Building, met with world-renowned designer Santiago Calatrava to discuss the successes of our two joint projects: Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Fla., and, in New York City, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and its dramatic Oculus entrance structure.

Florida Polytechnic University 9-5-13 04

Florida Polytechnic University

Flemming: Santiago, in your opinion, what were some of the successes of the Florida Polytechnic project that stand out to you the most?

Calatrava: One of the main successes of this project is how my team and Skanska worked together to deliver a price certain design and construction process for such a complex building. Effective collaboration is the key to success. It shows that great things can be built.

Flemming: When you are dealing with a complex project like Florida Polytechnic – or the Oculus– what is the most important characteristic you desire in a contractor?

Calatrava: I have always respected contractors and admired their capacity to deliver. When working with Skanska on the Polytechnic project, we could not believe how easily you were able to attack the most complex components. There were never any problems that couldn’t be addressed. And in the end, you gave us better solutions. This project is an exceptional project. And it will be completed under budget.

That is truly exceptional.

Oculus

The Oculus entrance at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Flemming: Getting to price certainty is a real challenge in this industry. What do you think the best solution is?

Calatrava: When the architect and builder work together, the owner always benefits. If you, as the contractor, give us the chance to design something better, we will take that opportunity. When you are working hand-in-hand, the building will only be more innovative.

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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After losing his home to fire, a Skanska project manager shares fire safety tips

Jeff Perkins, a project manager in Skanska’s Metro New York office, was asleep with his family on a recent morning when they were awoken at 4:30 a.m. by the blaring of his home’s smoke alarm. The alarm sounded just in time: while there wasn’t much smoke inside their Mays Landing, N.J., home when they awoke, the fire soon engulfed their home, destroying it. Other than a broken arm sustained by his six- year-old son during the evacuation, Perkins escaped unharmed, along with his wife and four children. Fire department officials later determined that the fire started at an outside grill, and quickly spread to the adjacent wooden backdoor steps.

In the spirit of sharing knowledge, Perkins compiled a list of fire safety best practices. No doubt there are some items here from which we all can learn!

Smoke detectors: Ensure smoke detectors are tested monthly and are in working order. Keep an additional detector on hand in case one goes bad, so there is no excuse to not replace immediately. Use models that allow you to record your voice as most children do not wake up to the beep of a traditional alarm. (Perkins credits the smoke detectors with saving his family. He said: “My daughter’s bed was minutes – at best – from being engulfed in flames. If the detector that first picked up the smoke had failed, she wouldn’t be alive.”)

Fire extinguishers: Check fire extinguishers regularly and replace old extinguishers. Manufacturers recommend replacing extinguishers every five to seven years, even if the gauges still indicate full. Shake them every few months to keep the powder from caking on the bottom. (Perkins said that the fire extinguisher closest to the fire was seven years old, and while it indicated full, it didn’t work.)

Fire drills: Conduct fire drills in the home with children.

Make a plan: Parents should discuss expectations during a fire, such as who gets which children, where to meet and how to get out if trapped. Discuss with neighbors to make arrangements for the children to be brought into their home so they don’t witness the fire. (Said Perkins: “My kids were almost immediately inside a neighbors’ home watching TV. They saw very little of the damage and this will certainly help avoid long-term psychological impacts.”)

Cell phones and keys: Keep cell phones and keys by an exterior door to easily get on the way out or after the fact. (Said Perkins: “Ours were not and we had to use a neighbor’s phone to call 911 and family. We were lucky that the fire police found my wife’s phone – amazingly still working – and all of our keys.”). Keep spare keys, cash, checks and an extra credit card in a fire box. (Said Perkins: “We did not, and had no way to make purchases or get cash until new cards arrived.”)

Back-up your home computer: Make sure you back-up your computer to an external hard drive and store it in a fire box. (Said Perkins: “All of my home computer gear was untouched by the fire or smoke; however, the small ocean of water the fire department put into my house destroyed all electronics. I back-up my hard drive weekly and so everything on my computer is safe.”)

Spare clothing: Keep a spare set of clothes at a family member’s house. Clothes shopping is the last thing on your mind, but having nothing to wear is difficult.

Use waterproof containers: When storing memorabilia and other items in boxes or bins used waterproof containers. The fire department has one goal, to put out the fire. They will put water on every square inch of the house, move furniture, break windows and remove walls to do so. The water will take all the charred remains from upper floors to the lower floors. In many fires, more damage is due to water/mold than fire/smoke. (Perkins said that hours after the fire department had left, the backyard and basement had over a foot of water each.)

Create a property list: Take a video camera and walk your house, filming inside every cabinet, drawer and closet, so that in the event of a fire you can more easily create your property list. This can take minutes to do but save you countless hours and expense later.

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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