Best Airports/Transit: Infrastructure Improvements to Barclays Center

While visitors to Brooklyn's 18,000-seat Barclays Center can't help but notice the structure's weathered steel exterior, they are likely to miss a major portion of what made the multipurpose arena possible—the extensive underground infrastructure network. The complexity of this $150-million infrastructure project is the result of its location over a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) yard and several subway lines, and within a densely populated neighborhood.

The team was charged with creating a new subway entrance; access to seven NYC Transit subway lines and the LIRR; a railcar maintenance shop; parking lots; park improvements; and sitework.

The rail yard itself—which was originally 11 tracks wide—also had to be reconfigured. All utility and railroad facilities required locating, relocating and/or designing, which added to the project's complexity. The Carlton Avenue Bridge over the rail yard was demolished and replaced to provide clearance for the trains below. The 222-ft replacement span is a steel plate girder structure.

The job required extensive analysis and planning. As the rail yard was being modified, the team was required to develop construction documents for a new LIRR rail tunnel under Atlantic Avenue. Designing the new spur tunnel required providing railroad clearances while accommodating the large utilities located overhead, including a 36-in.-dia sewer.

For the many participants on this public-private partnership project—including the owner, city and state agencies, various transportation entities and numerous private and public utilities—open communication was essential. Agencies had to be kept abreast of public comments in order to expedite approvals.

That point was not lost on the Best Projects judges. "The incredible coordination for this project made it extremely complex," one said. Another added: "The logistics planning was thorough and didn't create any issues with traffic or the community—and they delivered it on schedule."

Infrastructure Improvements to Barclays Arena, Brooklyn

Key Players

Owner Forest City Ratner Cos.

General Contractor John Civetta and Sons Inc.

Lead Designer Stantec Consulting Services Inc.

Canopy Architectural Design SHoP Architects PC

Site Work Contractor MFM Contracting Corp.

Yard MEP PB Americas

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