Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roosevelt Island Helix Emergency Pothole Repairs Thursday and Friday 6 PM to 3 AM, Traffic Reduced To One Lane During This Time - How Will Helix Handle Heavy Construction Trucks During Cornell NYC Tech Campus Construction?

 Image Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
Please be advised on Thursday, June 20th and Friday, June 21st the Roosevelt Island Helix will undergo emergency concrete pothole repair work. The work will be performed between the hours of 6:00 PM and 3:00 AM during which time, traffic entering and exiting the Island will be reduced to one lane. The work zone will be marked with signs. Flagmen and Public Safety officers will be on-site directing traffic and providing assistance throughout the scheduled maintenance. Orange traffic barrels and safety cones will be installed between the two lanes to channelize traffic. Motorist are urged to use caution while traveling near the work zone.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group

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Concerns have been raised about the impact of numerous, large, heavy construction trucks using the the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix during the construction of the Cornell NYC Tech campus. That question was asked to Cornell during the Community Board 8 ULURP review process. Here's the question and Cornell's answer:
... Q -How is the helix ramp leading from the bridge to the island going to be improved to handle the huge heavy truck traffic anticipated? What would be the impact if the ramp had to be closed for repairs? (Page 18)

A- No improvements to the helix are proposed as part of the project. As with any transportation facility, including local roads, highways, and bridges, necessary repair would be conducted with the appropriate maintenance and protection of traffic and pedestrian flows, subject to review and approval by the entity having jurisdiction over the facility, which in this case would be RIOC. Cornell will be complying with the reduced load limits on the bridge and helix as approved by DOT....
Cornell has promised to reduce the amount of truck traffic going over the Roosevelt Island Bridge and Helix by using more barges for transporting construction materials.

More information on the condition of the Roosevelt Island Helix available in this 2011 report by Liro Engineers commissioned by RIOC attached to 2013 RFP for Structural Evaluation and Engineering & Design Services for the renovation of the R.I. Helix Ramp.


CheshireKitty said...

The helix is the life-line of RI. RIOC should be repairing the helix pot-holes.

However, it is time for RIOC to focus its attention on getting Cornell to agree to barge the toxic debris from the Goldwater excavation next year off the island - with no exception to this portion of the project.

Mr. Skorton: All the debris must be barged off the island - since it's impossible to verify which debris contains the toxic substances and which does not. Most of the building materials should be barged in as well if at all possible.

RIOC must simply refuse to turn over the strip of land Cornell wants unless Cornell agrees as above to barge all of the debris off the island - no exceptions. The building materials should also be barged in as much as possible.

Cornell "promising" in a letter to Lappin that it will "barge as much as possible" isn't enough. That's not a document that you could show to a judge to ask that the project be halted because debris is now rolling through the island on trucks. Cornell has to sign a legally binding agreement such that if it does not barge all the debris off the island, a judge can stop the project.

Cornell is "promising" to barge - but does anyone see Cornell making preparations to barge? Even if a crane lifts containers onto barges tied up alongside the island, dredging and preparation of the waterfront area to enable barges to tie up alongside the island, if a dock is not going to be constructed, needs to be done. All that can't be done at the last minute - it must be planned, approved by various agencies, and executed. Goldwater will be shut down by the end of October and work at the site is expected to begin next year. Time is running out.

So as to prepare for the demolition and excavation of the site, if a decision is made to construct a permanent dock, then rehabilitating the oil dock is the most logical choice; even if it is not exactly at the work site, the truck trips to the oil dock will eliminate trips over the helix.

Ms. Indelicato: Please shake up RIOC inaction and inertia on this front. The dock once improved could even be used later as a ferry dock (it was so used in the 80s when there was briefly, ferry service to Wall St from RI). In exchange for the land, Cornell must pay a portion of the cost of improving/rehabbing the dock - benefits from that payment will flow to the community if/when the oil dock is later used for ferry service - and agree to barge all the debris. There are plenty of waterfront facilities all over the 5 boros and the E. Coast that can handle the debris - transferring the containers to rail or trucking it out of NYC, without having to utilize the choke-point of the aging, relatively delicate helix, which is the only RI vehicular link to the outside world. That aspect of the operation is not the problem of RIOC. Cornell must identify a waste disposal outfit that will safely deal with the debris and pay for the process of disposing of it. Cornell now has Goldwater site including the debris that will result from the site's excavation: Owning that site and the toxic layers beneath it does not mean it can proceed to ruin our community because it is too cheap to utilize barging.

Frank Farance said...

RIOC can easily fix the Cornell trucking vs. barging problem: RIOC regulates the vehicular traffic (e,g., why food trucks need additional fees over and above City fees/licenses), so RIOC should charge the Cornell trucks (say) $1000 per trip. Actually, RIOC would have to come up with some pricing model to recoup the costs, but it would include more than just wear and tear, it would include the mitigating the financial and operational risk if something went wrong with the helix. With that kind of model, which Cornell can't do much about, Cornell would have to make a business decision and I'd guess that it would nudge Cornell into more barging. Really, at with 60 trucks a day, that's about $15 million a year, which might represent the actual cost.

And, it would be irresponsible (i.e., failing RIOC Directors' fiduciary responsibility) not to impose such a fee. :-)