The north end of the Island will soon boast its own active construction site. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will begin construction at their site, located just south of the Octagon, in April. The work is expected to extend through August of 2018. The project includes the installation of piping and tanks as part of a decades-long effort to upgrade the City’s aging water infrastructure.
According to a DEP spokesperson, “Crews will be working in the area to prepare the Brooklyn/Queens leg of City Water Tunnel No. 3 for activation. All of the work will take place on DEP property.”
Surrounded by the soccer field, Pony Field, the Dayspring Church, and the community gardens, the DEP site does not currently offer easy access to Main Street. To accommodate construction vehicles, the DEP plans to create two access roads, one running between the soccer field and community gardens and a second one along the western promenade behind the Octagon.
According to a DEP fact sheet, the western road will require the removal of some barbeque grills, picnic tables, and trees. The DEP will install a low concrete wall and fencing along the access road for safety. They also plan to implement various noise abatement techniques.
The DEP says that, for the most part, work will take place between Monday and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but that work will at times occur on a 24-hour basis. They expect five trucks to enter and exit the site per day for the duration of the project.
“This project is the next phase in a long-planned, critical buildout of the water infrastructure,” said Gretchen Robinson, compliance and internal controls officer for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC). “Since most of the work will take place underground, on the DEP site, there should be minimal disruption, if any, to residents on the Island.
“DEP and RIOC ... have established an open line of communication and collaboration as to any further developments in this project,” said Robinson. Public Safety Department
\Deputy Kevin Brown said notifications, including a two week look-ahead and a community town hall meeting, have been discussed as measures to communicate with residents and respond to community concerns.
According to the DEP website, the Brooklyn/Queens leg of City Water Tunnel No. 3 is a 5.5-mile section in Brooklyn that connects to a 5-mile section in Queens. “The City completed the Brooklyn/Queens leg of the tunnel in May 2001, and substantially completed the shafts in 2006. The project is scheduled for completion in the 2020s. When activated, the Brooklyn/Queens leg will deliver water to Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens.”
New York City currently relies on two water tunnels – one dating from 1917, and another from 1936 – for the majority of its drinking water. City Water Tunnel No. 3 has been under construction since 1970. When activated, City Water Tunnel No. 3 will provide the City with an alternative way to access clean drinking water. After the construction of City Water Tunnel No. 3, the DEP will be able to shut down the first two water tunnels for repair and maintenance for the first time ever.