Statue of Liberty National Monument Life and Safety Upgrades and Post-Sandy Recovery, New York City

Photos By Brian Rose
Photos By Brian Rose

This $42-million, two-pronged project initially involved upgrading life, fire and safety systems at the Statue of Liberty National Monument—a job that was finished the day before Superstorm Sandy struck.

Before the storm, the team's work included demolishing the interior levels of the 145-ft-high granite pedestal, including dismantling the seven-story interior stairwell and replacing it with two wider stairwells.

But the storm left Liberty Island with severely damaged buildings, promenade, docks, grounds and other infrastructure. As a result, the team's next job focused on replacing and relocating mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Electrical switches and equipment were moved from the basement level to a new steel floor, erected 14 ft above ground to comply with new federal regulations and to prevent future damage and loss of power during storms.

One of the first hurdles involved materials delivery to the island, which was under tightened security and remained open during construction. The general contractor coordinated two to three deliveries of all materials daily via barges that—like the crews themselves—had to undergo security checks before they set sail.

The historic nature of the statue required extra care during construction, including the reuse of the original attachment points for the emergency elevator. The concern was that new attachments could damage the historic Gustave Eiffel-designed structure.

The pedestal's tight, 27-ft-sq interior was another hurdle. The team used a temporary scaffold to rebuild all six levels of the pedestal and observation deck.

Judges commended the team's handling of logistical constraints in getting to and from the island as well as once on site.


Key Players

Owner U.S. Dept. of the Interior

General Contractor Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corp.

Lead Designer Mills & Schnoering Architects LLC

Structural Engineer Keast & Hood Co.

MEP Engineer Joseph R. Loring & Associates

Steel Weir Welding Co. 

Concrete Macedos Construction LLC

Mechanical DeSesa Engineering Co.