Thursday, May 07, 2009

A question for the oversight hearing: why did utility work schedule change?

(This is one in an irregular series of articles about issues that a State Senate committee might address when it holds a hearing on Atlantic Yards. This mostly reprises an 8/1/08 post, given that my questions were never answered.)

A look at documents produced by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) during and after the environmental review shows some inconsistencies in estimates of time for utility work. According to the construction schedule and also Chapter 17 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), it was supposed to take a year. Chapter 17 states, “The major in-street utility work would begin late in 2006 and last about 12 months.”

However, the construction updates issued by the ESDC offered contradictory information, suggesting a shifting timetable for the first phase of utility work and potentially a much longer stretch for all three phases.

Though the ESDC is often willing to answer questions I've posed, in this case, I never got answers.

Three months at the start

In the first Construction Update mentioning utility work, issued for weeks beginning November 5, 2007 and November 11, 2007, the timetable was three months:
Utility Work: The first of three phases of upgraded water and sewer installations will begin in this two week period and is expected to be underway for three months.


Extended by at least one month

Two weeks later, in the Construction Update issued for weeks beginning November 19, 2007 and November 26, the timetable was extended by at least one month:
The first of three phases of upgraded water and sewer installations will be underway in this two week period and is expected to be underway for four to six months.


Later: 14 months

Some two months later, in the Construction Update issued for weeks beginning January 28, 2008 and February 4, 2008, the first phase had been extended to the end of the year, for a total of some 14 months:
Utility Work: The first of three phases of upgraded water and sewer installations is underway and is expected to continue through the end of the year. Work will continue on Dean Street between Flatbush and Sixth Avenues and on Sixth between Pacific and Dean Streets.


Questions for the ESDC

I asked the ESDC for the explanation for the initial announcement of a shorter period and the significant revision in the expected length of time.

I also asked how long the full three phases are expected to take. (I'm not sure now whether all were completed.)

Mitigations available?

I also asked whether, given that the (overall) utility work seemed to be going on longer than anticipated, there were any additional potential mitigations for the impact on those living in/near the project footprint.

I never got any answers.

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