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City Awards Contract for Controversial E. 91st Street Trash Station

By Jill Colvin | September 27, 2012 6:43am

UPPER EAST SIDE — Swedish construction giant Skanska has won a $181 million contract to build the controversial East 91st Street marine transfer station.

The city's Department of Design and Construction selected Skanska and a company called Trevcon to work jointly on building the new 10-story garbage facility, the city confirmed.

Skanska and Trevcon have worked on numerous, large-scale city projects, including the Fulton Street Transit Center, the Second Avenue Subway and restoration work at Chelsea Piers and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

A DDC spokesman said the contract must still be signed off on by the city's budget office and the Comptroller's office, which could take several months.

Officials maintain the new station will help cut down on pollution and asthma rates, and promise that all of the waste will be processed indoors, using state-of-the-art odor controls.

But outraged residents have been battling the plan since its inception, claiming the station will overwhelm the residential neighborhood with noisy garbage trucks, bad odors and air pollution.

They also fear it would make life miserable for families who use the ball fields at the popular Asphalt Green Recreation Center, which will be within feet of the ramp that trucks will use to access the station.

Jed Garfield, president of Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, a community group that has formed to fight the plan, said that, regardless of the contractor, the project is ill-advised.

“It doesn’t matter that they chose Skanska,” he said.

“They can give it to anyone they want but as long as they continue to disregard the issue of children and neighborhoods that are ethnically diverse, we’re going to continue to fight them,” he said.

The group is behind one of several lawsuits that have been filed against the project, including one that claims the city should have conducted another environmental review because the station could be saddled with 4,300 tons of garbage per day, more than double the estimate when the city initially conducted its review of the site.

The project’s foes also claim that the city’s price tag grossly underestimates the costs, which they calculate could balloon to $400 million.

The station is part of the city's Solid Waste Management Plan, which aims to cut truck emissions and traffic by moving more trash by barge. It was also to designed to force each borough to bear the burden of its trash, instead of sending it all to Brooklyn or the South Bronx.

City officials have said they expect to break ground on the facility by the year’s end, with the station slated to open by 2015.

A Skanska spokeswoman referred all questions about their plans to the DDC.