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Month After 2nd Ave. Blast Shakes Upper East Side, Residents Demand Answers

By DNAinfo Staff on September 25, 2012 11:36am

UPPER EAST SIDE — More than a month after an explosion shattered windows and shot debris into the air, UES residents demanded Monday tougher safety measures and quality-of-life protections at the first Second Avenue Subway Task Force Committee Meeting since the incident.

Reps from the MTA's Capital Construction were on hand at the Community Board 8 meeting to discuss their an investigation, completed earlier this month, in which they found that contractors  set the stage for the debacle by not following approved blast plans, drilling angular blast holes and installing insufficient construction-area covers called "blast mats."

The MTA pledged to add outside monitoring by safety consultants and the presence of an extra licensed blaster to double-check explosion plans.

"It was an incident we took very seriously," Bill Goodrich, senior vice president of MTA Capital Construction, explained to attendees.

But many attendees at Monday night's meeting wanted to know why contractor SSK Constructors Joint Venture did not face more penalties as a result of the problem.

Steve Broder of the Upper East Side wanted to know why the MTA didn't withhold payment from contractors who violated safety precautions.

"How many breaches of safety do we need to withhold payment?" he asked.

Goodrich replied that the MTA had put pressure on contractors to follow additional safety protocols and that punitive measures weren't necessary.

"We feel as though the contractor has been responsive," he said. "They don't always get it right the first time."