PROJECT COST: $175 Million

The federal stimulus funds made available by the Obama administration for tri-state area projects have had a spotty history thus far, but at least one project has secured the funding to proceed.

St. George Ferry Terminal
Photo courtesy of Conti Construction
St. George Ferry Terminal

The $175 million ramp work at the St. George Ferry terminal was the biggest stimulus project in the city when it went forward last July, and for due reason: the terminal is used by 70,000 passenger every day, and, with 23 of State Island's bus lines and the Staten Island Railway all convening here, serves as a central hub connecting the borough to the rest of the world. While the ferry building was constructed in 2004, the ramps that take bus, pedestrian, and vehicle traffic into the terminal have not been replaced in 60 years.

Because the terminal is a transportation hub, the team had to coordinate with various organs of the NYC Department of Transportation, from those responsible for traffic signals to two quality control departments, as well as the Arts Commission (now known as the Public Design Commission) which monitors community impact. But the work itself, still currently in the design phase, has been relatively straightforward.

"The facility is going to be under operation during construction, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Aaron Tubbs, project manager for Conti Construction Corp., the general contractor on the project. "The most challenging piece is not necessarily the construction-it's keeping the buses, trains and people moving."

Originally slated to be financed entirely by the city, the project applied and successfully secured the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Over 260,000 sq ft of bridge deck will be replaced across nine separate structures, including a new parking lot ramp, according to Tubbs. The replacement work is substantial: 13,000 cu yards of concrete, 4,000 ft of new drainage, and 1.2 millon lbs of rebar, in addition to a new lighting system throughout and a bus canopy with a new PA system. But as a design-build project, a lot of the potential mishaps are being addressed long before physical construction.

"So far this is one of our first design-build projects. Having a hand in the design process and being able to say what we do and don't like is something we rarely get to do as contractors," Tubbs said. "This gives us an opportunity to put some of our ideas on constructability into the design."

Not all the improvements going forward are what one associates with infrastructure repairs. In addition to the rough riding surfaces and constant need for repairs, as well as poor drainage and dim lighting, the structure had a problem with pigeons, making the parking lot below "a gauntlet for guano-dodging commuters," according to one Staten Island Advance report.

The new ramps will feature a bird-deterrent system when they're completed in spring 2013.

Key Players

Owner: New York City Department of Transportation
General Contractor, Design-Build: Conti Construction Corp., South Plainfield, NJ
Rebar Installation: Max-Tec, Shirley, NY
Structural Steel installation and Repairs: Northeast Structural Steel, Yonkers, NY
Fabricator for Structural Steel and Structural Steel Repairs: Lehigh Fabrication, Whitehall, PA Demolition: NASDI, Waltham, MA
Concrete Supplier: Scara-Mix, Staten Island, NY
Rebar Supplier: Barker Steel, Milford, MA