News Wrap: Recovering from Sandy; TZB Contract Nabbed?; NYS Energy Task Force Plan; and More!
New York & New Jersey
After Sandy, Region Sets Sights on Recovery
As the tristate area began recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, officials were still struggling days after the Oct. 29th storm struck to assess the extent of damage, its cost and, tragically, even the death toll. Many areas were still flooded and without power three days after the storm, which slammed the region with dangerously high winds and disabled most of the New York and New Jersey transportation systems.
In New Jersey, which was ground zero for Sandy's landfall, four shore towns were "almost completely underwater," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at an Oct. 30 press briefing, Engineering News-Record reports. In those towns—Lavalette, Seaside Heights, Sea Bright and Belmar—the "devastation is unthinkable." Several counties have been declared disaster areas and are eligible for FEMA funds, ENR reports. "There is major damage on each and every rail line in New Jersey," Christie said.
In New York City, bus service and some subway and railroad lines were running with limited service by Nov. 1, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a transportation emergency for the region.
The storm "ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots," Joseph Lhota, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, said on NBC News.
Cuomo has called on state agencies to respond to the storm's damage quickly and, to that end, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) loosened rules to allow emergency repairs and stabilization of waterfronts, roads and bridges in the state's coastal regions.
"These emergency declarations will ensure communities can work on recovery efforts as soon as possible under the best practices identified by DEC," Cuomo said in a statement.
The DEC says it is monitoring the operations at area wastewater treatment plants. It says that, so far, 12 facilities reported flooding; 10 facilities reported partially treated or untreated flows at some point since the storm hit; and four facilities still had partially treated or untreated flows as of Nov. 1.
"Due to the effects of the hurricane, there is no accurate way to determine the amount of partially treated or untreated flows entering waterways," DEC said in a statement.
(For more on this and other stories in this section, visit enr.com/newyork and click on the News tab.)
Will Fluor Team Nab TZB Contract?
A Fluor Corp.-led team is thought to have been selected to start contract talks with New York state for the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, according to an Oct. 25th Wall Street Journal article citing unnamed industry sources. The team, called the Tappan Zee Constructors, also includes contractors Granite Construction Northeast, American Bridge Co. and Traylor Bros. Inc. and engineering firms HDR, Buckland & Taylor and URS.
A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that state officials contacted one of the teams to make changes in its bid, but he would not confirm that the bidder contacted was Tappan Zee Constructors or that it is the state's choice for the project, according to a recent Engineering News-Record article. "No one's in the lead," the official told ENR.
Industry Seeks Details on Energy Task Force Plan
Industry members say they are eager to hear further details of New York state's recently released plan to add up to 3,200 megawatts of power generation and transmission capacity to the state's grid with up to $5.7 billion to be invested via public-private partnerships.
"Our members build [energy infrastructure] and are also businesses concerned about the cost of energy, which in New York state is above the national average," says Mike Elmendorf, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State. "It is good to see the governor and his administration looking at this .… But there are a lot of specifics [of the plan] yet to come, so we are looking forward to seeing those."
Cuomo's Energy Highway Task Force released the "blueprint" on Oct. 22, saying the plan would provide enough energy to power about 3.2 million homes.