Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Yes, the project is vastly over budget and hasn't delivered Bronxites with the amount of jobs promised to them when the city pitched the community the plan to take over a huge chunk of Van Cortlandt Park and use it for a water filtration plant. But this tour was designed to show people what they're getting for that $3 billion, which will be paid for through a 12.9% hike in water rates this year and probably near that amount in the years to come.
Daly -- pictured standing in a pipe that will one day pump clean, filtered water into city homes -- says the project is about 60% complete and should be done sometime in 2012.
I took some video, which we'll try to get up in the next few days and we'll have more details in next week's edition of the Norwood News. But my first impressions are that this an enormous and incredibly complex project. In fact, it's the biggest municipal construction project in New York City history [Update: I guess I was wrong about this, but the contract awarded to Skanska for the actual construction of the plant is the biggest single contract the city has awarded, according to Daly.] . There are somewhere between 1,300 and 1,400 workers on site every day. Sand Hogs, carpenters, electricians, crane operators, masons, steel workers, safety guys, security, spotters. Really, it's impressive, which I think was the point of the tour.
This project has been criticized before it even began and has been plagued by missteps and miscalculations that have enraged the surrounding communities and the activist watchdogs holding the DEP's feet to the fire.
But in the end, Daly -- a relentlessly enthusiastic and energetic man who obviously loves his job (the guy relishes the monthly DEP community meetings, which other DEP officials have treated like trips to the dentist) -- remains optimistic about how it will be received by the community. "I think people are really going to appreciate it," he told me. We'll see. Click on the "read more" for more photos inside, outside and on top of this behemoth.
An aerial shot of what the site looks like today:
Here's the pump station, where water will go in and out:
The Sand Hogs, the guys doing the dirty work in the tunnels:
Here's the top of the plant, where the golf course driving range will be:
Here's a shot I took from the "man cage," where we were lifted high above the site:
Here's some of the inner-workings in the depths of the plant:
And just to give you an idea of how busy it is on this site: