Vinny Stellato is a program director in the World Trade Center Construction Department with design and construction responsibilities for the Vehicle Security Center and Tour Bus Parking Facility.
Mr. Stellato is a 32-year veteran of the design and construction industry, and has worked for the Port Authority for 25 years. In the past, he has managed challenging and highly visible projects such as the Newark and JFK AirTrain programs and the delivery of the 800 MHz radio systems for PATH and Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department.
The Vehicle Security Center and Tour Bus Parking Facility is scheduled to open in 2012.
Q. When will we be able to see visible progress at the Vehicle Security Center site? – Anthony, Commack, N.Y.
A. Check out this link for real visible progress that we've been making on the Vehicle Security Center. You'll see that we're installing 28 interconnected concrete panels to form the basement, or "bathtub," walls. To date, four have been installed and several others are in progress. These panels are 22 feet wide, by 3 feet thick, by 65 feet deep. We begin by digging a hole in the ground for a panel, putting a reinforcing steel cage in the hole and then filling the hole with concrete. What you'll see from outside the fence is the giant steel cages being hoisted by crane high above the fence and into the holes.
Once the foundation walls are installed, we'll begin to excavate the basement, which should begin early next year.
Q. There is loud construction taking place late at night well after 10 p.m. on Liberty Street, directly under a residential building. I believe this is the VSC site. Do noise ordinances not apply to the Port Authority? Can the various construction tasks be moved around to minimize nighttime noise? – Enrico, N.Y., N.Y.
A. One of the biggest challenges we face on this project and others on the WTC site is how to keep the work moving forward on schedule, while at the same time being good neighbors to those who live around the site. It's a constant tension and we've tried to strike the appropriate balance. For example, while we work longer hours than most typical construction sites, we've also paid for soundproofing in residential buildings along Liberty Street. While we've brought in state-of-the-art equipment to dig, drill and erect as fast as possible, we've also required contractors to retrofit that equipment with devices to mitigate noise. This is the kind of balance we will continue to push for so we stay on schedule, but minimize the disturbance to the greatest extent possible.
Q. Because the VSC seems to be intertwined with the deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank building, how do its delays affect the VSC? Also, I read that one of the subbasements of the Deutsche Bank building is not being removed, does this have any impact? Will the surface be backfilled? – Anthony, Scarsdale, N.Y.
A. You're correct that the property now occupied by the Deutsche Bank building is critical to completing the VSC. This deconstruction work is being managed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Given the delays of the building's deconstruction, we are developing a plan to work around the building as best as we can to keep the VSC on schedule and on budget. In answer to your second question, the basement walls at 130 Liberty Street and the lowest floor slab will be left in place and will be partially backfilled.
Q. How are you able to coordinate the work on the VSC with the other projects? Don't they get in the way? What mechanism does the Port Authority have in place to coordinate and prioritize projects on the site? – Joe, N.Y., N.Y.
A. Your question easily spells out the biggest challenge that we face in getting the World Trade Center site rebuilt – coordinating the construction of major office buildings, a transportation hub, a national memorial and major underground infrastructure all on a 16-acre site that has two active train systems running through it every day. To make it all work, we have a comprehensive logistics plan that lists all of the work activities of all of the projects. It includes areas where one project may interfere with another, identifies deliverable items and a time frame that one project needs to make way for another to proceed. This is all done by expert professionals using the most current project scheduling software.
In addition to the comprehensive logistics plan, we also have regular working coordination meetings where I and the other project managers meet to discuss day-to-day logistics.
Q. The southern footbridge crossing over West Street from the World Financial Center to the Vehicle Security Center location is one of the last surviving components of the original World Trade Center complex. Are there any plans to preserve this bridge, or will it be removed to facilitate construction of the VSC? – Ryan, Baton Rouge, LA
A. This bridge will be preserved and will eventually provide an important link for Battery Park City residents and others to get to Liberty Park, which will be built when the Vehicle Security Center is completed.
Q. I've read about the constant delays getting the Deutsche Bank building demolished. Does the building have to be demolished for the Vehicle Security Center to be completed? – Dan, N.Y., N.Y.
A. As I mentioned in another answer, completion of the Vehicle Security Center hinges on the complete demolition of the building at 130 Liberty Street, which is being managed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Since the building is still up, we are developing work-arounds so we can complete this critical project as soon as possible.
Q. How long will it take to excavate the foundation for the Vehicle Security Center? -- Anonymous, N.Y., N.Y.
A. We plan to have the basement for the vehicle security center completed by the first quarter of 2011, but that date hinges on the demolition of 130 Liberty Street.
Q. Will vehicles have access to all four buildings from the Vehicle Security Center when all of the towers are built and the facility is completed. – Jamal, Brooklyn, N.Y.
A. Yes. The Vehicle Security Center will connect to an underground roadway system that will serve all of the office towers.
Q. I would like to know when the excavation for the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center will officially begin? Also, I would like to know what is going to happen with the south pedestrian bridge? Also, will the southern wall of the World Trade Center site be perforated or will there be any link between the main site of the World Trade Center and the Vehicle Security Center. -- Boris, Ridgefield, CT.
A. As I responded to another question, we're making real progress building the foundation walls for the Vehicle Security Center, which we must do before we can start the excavation work early next year. The south pedestrian bridge will remain in its current location. However, early next year, it is anticipated that pedestrian traffic will be diverted onto a temporary bridge south of the existing bridge onto the corner of Cedar and West streets for the duration of the Vehicle Security Center construction. Once the VSC is built, the existing bridge will connect to Liberty Park that will be built on top of the Vehicle Security Center.
There will be a two-lane passageway from the Vehicle Security Center under the No. 1 subway that will provide the link to the main World Trade Center site.