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$48M Water Main Project To Tear Up Broadway for 4 Years

By Julie Shapiro on July 11, 2012 11:02am 

A busy stretch of Broadway near the MTA's new Fulton Center station is about to undergo four years of water main construction.
A busy stretch of Broadway near the MTA's new Fulton Center station is about to undergo four years of water main construction.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A $48 million water main project is coming to a busy Downtown stretch of Broadway starting early next year, city officials said.

The construction, which will last four years, will affect eight blocks of the thoroughfare between Ann and Rector streets, including heavily used blocks near Zuccotti Park, Wall Street, Trinity Church, Century 21, the World Trade Center and the MTA's new Fulton Center station.

Workers will replace old water mains and repair sewers beneath the street, a spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction said.

City officials told residents at a meeting Tuesday night that two lanes of Broadway would stay open at all times, said Ro Sheffe, chairman of Community Board 1's Financial District Committee.

The officials also said the work would begin with the two-block section of Broadway between Ann and John streets, moving south after about 18 months, Sheffe said. The city initially planned to start at Rector Street instead and move north, but the old water pipes are causing leaks at the Fulton Center so that section needs to be fixed first, Sheffe said.

Residents at Tuesday's meeting were unhappy to hear about such a large and potentially disruptive project.

"It desperately needs doing and we all recognize that," Sheffe said. "But we've been beset by construction for 10 years down here, and to hear about four more years is very upsetting."

Other major water main projects Downtown, such as those ongoing on Hudson and Chambers streets, drew complaints from residents and business owners who said the work was noisy and unsightly and caused traffic problems.

The DDC officials promised Tuesday night to have traffic control officers on Broadway during the entire four years of the project, Sheffe said.

Catherine McVay Hughes, chairwoman of CB1, sees the Broadway water main project as yet another reason to continue funding the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, which is responsible for managing Downtown's many overlapping construction projects.

"It will be important to coordinate this infrastructure project with the Fulton Center and John Street projects to minimize the impact on the surrounding community," Hughes said in an email.

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