At major $1.9 billion BQE rehab project, broad stakeholder coalition urges Albany passage of New York City Design Build authority to shave time and cut costs from major capital projects
De Blasio Administration officials announced that New York City was ramping up its campaign for Design Build authority for major infrastructure projects that will maintain New York City’s economic strength and mobility. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora were joined by elected officials, business leaders and advocates in front of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) in downtown Brooklyn. The Administration has dedicated $1.9 billion in capital funding over the next five years to completely rehabilitate the aging sixty-year old roadway. They stressed the need for Albany passage of Design-Build authority to fund and complete the infrastructure work there -- and for seven other major projects.
“The BQE triple-cantilever is a critical economic lifeline to our city. Like many roads, bridges and buildings across the five boroughs, it is overdue for carefully planned and executed rehab work,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Throughout New York City, we have serious capital needs that cannot wait for an emergent crisis. It is critical we attend to these needs right away and in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible. Design Build authority would save us time and money, which means our roadways would open sooner, emergency room wait times would decrease and the NYPD could begin training at their new facility. Design Build has been invaluable for the State, it can and should be for the City too.”
“The BQE-Atlantic to Sands is overdue for rehab – critical and complex work that no one in the world would take on without Design Build," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “As a road central to the regional economy, the BQE must be fixed safely and efficiently, and Design Build could save us as much as $300 million and two-years’ construction time on this single project. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to this and other major capital projects. We look forward to our work with state partners to give us the authority we need to get these jobs done with the least disruption and inconvenience."
“The history of Design Build in New York State shows that important City projects could benefit greatly if we were allowed to use this more efficient method for project delivery,” saidDDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “Police precincts, highways and public hospitals could be built with shorter construction times at lower cost if the City had the Design-Build process that agencies such as the State DOT and State Thruway Authority have already employed on projects such as the new Tappan Zee Bridge. I am grateful to the legislators who are working to get this passed in Albany, and to the Mayor for sending a strong message of support.”
Today’s speakers cited the urgent need for Design-Build authority in state law to speed major capital projects. Design Build streamlines the construction process by merging design and construction phases, saving both time and money. Authorized for use by several New York state agencies since 2011, Design Build was used most prominently by the New York State Department of Transportation for the BQE's Kosciusko Bridge last month, just five miles north of the downtown Brooklyn BQE section controlled by New York City.
The rehabilitation of the 1.5-mile portion of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street is the largest among major infrastructure projects planned by New York City. Known for its distinctive triple-cantilever tiered structure (topped by the Brooklyn Heights promenade), the section of roadway is actually a succession of 21 different bridges. Constructed in the 1940s, the Atlantic-to-Sands section of roadway has never been rehabilitated despite growing increasingly congested in the years since: in the 1970s, 100,000 vehicles traveled it daily, with the number now exceeding 140,000 vehicles on an average weekday. Trucks are a large share of that traffic, 17 percent during rush hours, as the road serves not only as a major access point to East River bridges to Manhattan but also as a major means of moving freight within the five boroughs (90 percent of truck traffic has a NYC destination). With no breakdown or acceleration lanes, this narrow and congested section of the BQE suffers a disproportionate number of collisions and traffic delays.
In 2016, New York City DOT completed an in-depth inspection of the BQE Atlantic-to-Sands structure, the first since its original construction. That inspection found that while the highway was structurally sound and safe, a full-scale rehabilitation was necessary in the next decade. During 2016, DOT also substantially repaved the roadway on much of the structure, which has helped alleviate some of the breakdowns and traffic issues.
State legislation under consideration in Albany, A8134/S6427, sponsored by Assembly member Michael Benedetto and Senators Andrew Lanza and Martin Golden, would grant New York City authority to use Design-Build for eight designated major projects with a combined proposed budget of $2.5 billion. Those projects are:
1) BQE - Atlantic to Sands, Brooklyn (Department of Transportation)
Budgeted cost: $1.89 billion ($1.72 billion for DOT; $170 million for Parks)
· In addition to addressing the structural conditions on one of the most heavily traveled roads in New York City, the project will result in other significant enhancement by: 1) increasing vertical clearance along the Queens-bound BQE; 2) widening lanes and where feasible, adding standard shoulders to address high-crash rates and to bring the roadway up to national interstate standards; 3) making pedestrian improvements and increasing access to Brooklyn Bridge Park, especially at the Atlantic Avenue interchange; 4) improving drainage and lighting throughout the corridor.
2) Rodman's Neck Training Facility, Bronx (Department of Design and Construction on behalf of NYPD)
Budgeted cost: $275 million
· This project consists of the renovation of NYPD’s Rodman’s Neck Firearms Training Facility. The 48.7-acre site contains six open firing ranges and 21 wood frame and modular buildings.
· The project consists of administrative spaces, armory, climate-controlled ammunition storage, a tactical village for enhanced training and additional shooting points to increase number of officers who can be trained simultaneously. The new facility will offer enhanced capabilities for movable targets and tactical training environments.
3) Crossroads Youth Facility, Brooklyn (DDC on behalf of Administration for Children’s Services)
Budgeted cost: $129 million
· The City is undertaking a major renovation and upgrade of its Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brooklyn. The project’s design and construction will be managed by DDC.
4) Horizons Adolescent Facility, Bronx (DDC on behalf of Administration for Children’s Services)
Budgeted cost: $170 million
· DOC plans to rebuild the Horizon Detention Center in the Bronx. The project’s design and construction will be managed by DDC.
5) New NYPD Precinct - SE Queens (DDC on behalf of NYPD)
Budgeted cost: $70 million
· This project would create a new NYPD Precinct, the 116th in Southeast Queens,created out of the southern portions of the existing 105th precinct. The new precinct would serve the communities of Laurelton, Rosedale, Brookville and Springfield Gardens.
· The new 116th Precinct will address an increase in this area’s population and requests for law enforcement services, and help reduce response times. Compared to the other 76 precincts Citywide, the current 105th Precinct has the 5th-largest precinct population (118,577 residents) and the 5th largest square mileage (12.43 square miles).
6) Staten Island Ferry Resiliency (DOT)
Budgeted cost: $25 million
· Almost 23 million passengers ride the Staten Island Ferry each year. In 2012, as a result of Superstorm Sandy, ferry passenger terminals in both Staten Island and Manhattan, along with the Ferry Maintenance Facility on Staten Island, were subject to heavy flooding and major mechanical/electrical system damage.
· This major resiliency project includes the assessment, design and construction of systems necessary to ensure that this vital transit system is well-prepared and sufficiently resilient to withstand major flooding and increased incidents of severe weather in the future.
7) Pelham Parkway Bridge over Hutchinson River Parkway, Bronx (DOT)
Budgeted cost: $54.5 million
· Pelham Parkway crosses the Hutchinson River Parkway just east of Stillwell Avenue. A stone-arch bridge built in 1942, it consists of two spans with a total deck area of about 17,600 feet. The structure carries a total of six lanes of traffic, with sidewalks on both sides, for a total bridge width of 146.8 feet.
· The project will bring the bridge into a state of good repair.
8) Elmhurst Hospital Emergency Room Renovation, Queens (Health + Hospitals)
Budgeted cost: $20 million
· Located at 79-01 Broadway, the project consists of renovating and expanding the Emergency Department at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, one of New York City’s busiest Trauma Centers with approximately 1200 trauma admissions per year.
· The project addresses the demand for additional space to accommodate the hospital’s increased volume. Plans include more than 10,000 additional square feet of new space, an increase in treatment bays (48 to 80), an increase in nursing support areas, five additional isolation rooms, and centralized radiology services.
The Design-Build legislation would give the same benefit and cost savings to City agencies that New York State has realized on its projects, including eight projects that were authorized in the most recent State Budget. Design-Build contracts would be subject to applicable federal, state, and local requirements for disadvantaged business enterprises and minority and women-owned business enterprises. The Mayor recently announced the following MWBE commitments: Setting a Citywide goal of 30%; the Creation of the Mayor’s Office of MWBE and interest rate contract financing in the state of 3% up to $500,000 per loan. The use of Design-Build as a project delivery method will allow the City to complete more projects, increasing opportunities for MWBE firms. The City proposal includes Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for all projects utilizing Design-Build. Projects that utilize Design Build typically realize cost savings of at least 6 percent and an average time savings of 18 months.
“Speed and cost are important considerations in health care, and Design Build helps with both,” said Stanley Brezenoff, interim President and Chief Executive Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “With Design Build, we can make better use of our limited resources and respond more quickly to real community need for services. We are always looking for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, so for us, Design Build is a no-brainer.”
“The Rodman’s Neck Training Facility in the Bronx and an additional NYPD Precinct in Southeast Queens will provide needed infrastructure that will assist the NYPD in protecting New York City residents and providing essential law enforcement services,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.