Gaps Under 215th Step Street Wall Puts Renovation on Hold, City Says

By Nigel Chiwaya on April 25, 2014 2:24pm 

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  The $2.5 million project was delayed after workers discovered gaps under the stairwell handrails. 
West 215th Step Street Reconstruction
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INWOOD — The long-anticipated reconstruction of the West 215th Step Street suffered another set back earlier this month when construction crews had to stop work due to gaps in the soil underneath the handrails and a staircase wall.

The $2.5 million rebuild of the crumbling steps, which connect Broadway and Park Terrace East via West 215th Street, was put on hold two weeks ago when construction crews that were demolishing the north stairwell discovered voids in the soil underneath the right handrail and wall, a spokesman from the city Department of Design and Construction said. 

As a result, work is being held up for the next several weeks while the contractor, ACME Skillman Construction Co., submits plans to the city to fill in ground before continuing.

The voids do not pose a threat to the surrounding buildings, nor should they push back the project's 2015 completion date, DDC spokesman Craig Chin said.

"It shouldn't impact the schedule. [The design of the stairs] is the same and the work was actually ahead of schedule when it stopped," Chin said.

Construction crews began physical work on the steps in January. Residents have long complained of the cracked stairwells, which collect water when it rains and form ice sheets during the winter. Local politicians had been demanding a rebuild of the steps since 1999. 

When rebuilt, the new steps will include new lighting, benches, drainage systems and bike channels. The DDC has promised that the steps will be open to residents during all stages of construction.

As of Thursday, the south stairwell was still open to pedestrians while the north stairwell was already demolished.

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