New York’s Penn Station, the busiest railroad station in the United States, is located in Manhattan on three underground levels beneath a high-rise commercial development. In 1989, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) launched an improvement program, scheduled to be completed within seven years. It was important for construction to be completed without disrupting passenger and train traffic for LIRR’s 210,000 daily passengers.
To renovate a terminal so busy without affecting ongoing operations required close scheduling and coordination between LIRR operations and the construction contractors. Bechtel developed detailed construction phasing plans for the demolition scheme, including elevated work platforms and barricaded work areas so construction could proceed with the least inconvenience to passengers, without disrupting railroad operations or the existing concessionaire businesses.
The effectiveness of Bechtel’s construction management plan was also demonstrated by the increased customer satisfaction and the increase in passengers during each year of construction. The project was completed within budget and a year earlier than the originally projected schedule.
The improvements included a new entrance pavilion on 34th Street, the replacement of an electrical distribution system, and the addition of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, elevators, escalators, stairways, and ceilings.
Bechtel’s Zero Accident Program maintained an exemplary safety record and the project was awarded the Greater New York Construction Council’s Annual Safety Excellence Award, 1994, for safety performance on the Penn Station Improvements Project.
Significant features and accomplishments
- Major station improvements at the busiest railroad station in the US
- Completed the program while maintaining all passenger and train traffic
- Removed or replaced more than 100,000 ft2 (9300 m2) of wall and floor surface
- Awarded the Greater New York Construction Council’s 1994 Safety Excellence Award
- Completed within budget and ahead of schedule. In an integrated project team under the overall direction of the LIRR, Bechtel coordinated, administered, inspected, and monitored construction of the Penn Station Improvements project. Construction management services included cost and schedule control, bid document and process review, quality assurance and control, contract administration, and claims resolution during construction.