The Port Authority this week awarded the largest contract to date for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub to Skanska USA/Civil Northeast Inc./Granite Construction Northeast Inc./Skanska USA Building Inc., allowing for a critical portion of the major transportation facility to be built that will eventually serve more than 200,000 commuters.

The $542 million contract calls for the construction of the PATH Hall in the site’s West Bathtub and includes the construction of four rail platforms as well as the installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; plumbing work, fire protection, architectural finishes, and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and its standards for accessible design.

The original general contractor and construction manager on the project was a joint venture of Fluor Corp., Skanska USA, Bovis Lend Lease and Granite Construction called, Phoenix Constructors JV. But the Port Authority modified its contract with the group last April, allowing the agency to bid out all future Hub contracts separately in order to take advantage of the competitive market resulting in the current contract coming in on budget. The contract follows the award of the Greenwich Street World Trade Center Hub package and the $338.8 million contract to DCM Erectors to furnish, fabricate and erect 22,305 tons of structural steel for the hub.

The new contract is consistent with the schedule outlined in the October 2008 World Trade Center report and includes a “deck-over” solution for the construction of the PATH Hall roof making it possible for the Memorial Plaza which partially sits on the roof , to open in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The awarding of the contract comes just more than a week after an Federal Transit Administration report was released indicating that the transit hub project could take at least a year longer than the current 2014 completion deadline set by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.