A commuter-rail tunnel project connecting New York and New Jersey and a key player in New York City’s infrastructure renaissance are to be honored in June by the Professional Engineers in Construction, a division of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers.
The recipients will be recognized at the NYSSPE’s Annual Conference, June 4-6 at the Hilton Pearl River in Pearl River, N.Y.
PEC’s Construction Project of the Year will be awarded to Access to the Region’s Core, a passenger-rail tunnel to be built under the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey. Also known as the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel (THE Tunnel), the project will significantly upgrade century-old infrastructure and double commuter-rail capacity between the two neighboring states. The project includes the construction of two new tracks in the Meadowlands, two new single-track tunnels under the Hudson River and an expansion of Penn Station New York under 34th Street, including direct connections to NYC subways at 8th, 7th, and 6th avenues, as well as PATH.
Tom Schulze, project director and Richard Roberts, chief planner of New Jersey Transit, and Francis J. Lombardi, P.E., Chief Engineer of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey will accept the award on behalf of their agencies, which are jointly constructing the project. The Federal Transit Administration recently rated THE Tunnel among the best projects in the nation, which positions the project for a significant federal funding commitment.
“The New York metropolitan region’s infrastructure has been lagging very much behind pubic need, and this project responds to that pressing need by offering a creative engineering solution and new construction design” says NYSSPE/PEC Chair Kaspal Thumma. “This major effort involves a consortium of some 30 design firms and 8 construction management firms in the New York City metropolitan region, including all of the largest ones.” The project designers must carefully build around existing building foundations, water mains, sewers, electrical lines, a myriad of subway tunnels, as well as under the Hudson river. Additionally, the geology of the area surrounding the new station precludes shallow station elevations.
David J. Burney, commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), is this year’s recipient of the PEC Construction Professional of the Year. Burney, the first architect to head that agency, is being cited in part for his leadership in overseeing significant construction projects in a public agency involved in design and construction. DDC oversees capital projects for 22 client agencies in New York City, including the fire, police, and cultural affairs departments with a budget of over $5 billion. It also performs urban infrastructure work, such as converting swamplands into a park in Staten Island, as part of the Blue Belt project and the recently completed renovation of Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Under the leadership of Burney, DDC has adopted innovative engineering solutions to construction in urban settings, such as incorporating trenchless technology in road work and employing sustainable design principles in designing and building in a watershed area.
DDC’s past and current capital projects include the new NYC Office of Emergency Management Headquarters, the city's first "green" agency headquarters, expansion of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, expanding the New York Hall of Science in Queens, creating a children’s discovery center at the Queens Public Library, and the restoration and renovation of the Bronx Zoo’s Lion House. Other DDC’s current capital projects include slip-lining of the existing 100+ yrs old Madison Ave 48" main; the new NYPD Police Academy; and the restoration, expansion, and modernization of their Central Park Precinct Station House.
David Burney is also the architect of Mayor Bloomberg's visionary Design & Construction Excellence Program, with a mandate to change the paradigm of the public building construction process and elevate design and construction standards citywide. Prior to joining the DDC, Burney spent 13 years as director of design and capital improvements for the New York City Housing Authority, where he introduced a number of fresh new building design concepts into areas of the five boroughs lacking in innovative design.
PEC also will present its Intern of the Year Award to N’nana Oti of Wyeth Pharmaceutical. Oti is being honored for successfully completing a year of volunteer service to the PEC practice division and for exemplary dedication in supporting the profession of construction engineering, with additional recognition from the NYSSPE.
The PEC is one of four practice divisions of the NYSSPE, which has 2,500 members in 23 chapters across the state. Dr. James J. Yarmus is the incoming president of the NYSSPE for the 2009-10 term.