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Oft-Delayed GWB Bus Terminal Renovations on Hold Yet Again

By Nigel Chiwaya | July 11, 2013 8:39am
  The $183 million renovations are again delayed, and the Port Authority isn't giving a start date.
GWB Bus Terminal Renovations Delayed Again
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Don't expect to see construction begin on the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal any time soon.

Badly-needed renovations to the decrepit West 178th Street bus station were put on hold after the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and its development partner switched contractors for the project, an authority spokesman said.

There is no timeframe for the start of the $183 million project, which was slated to begin earlier this year, said authority spokesman Chris Valens.

The tale of the station's long-delayed renovations stretches back farther than traffic on the terminal's namesake bridge.

The Port Authority first announced plans to repair the dilapidated 50-year-old station in October 2008. The plans were delayed, however, once the recession hit later that year.

About a dozen businesses were moved out of the terminal in preparation for the renovation, leaving the terminal devoid of any shops for area residents or any of the 4.7 million passengers who use the station annually.

The authority and its development partner, George Washington Bridge Development Venture LLC., revived the project in 2011, pledging additional money and promising that the renovations would be completed in late 2013.

Hurricane Sandy pushed the start date back even further, though, and the Port Authority told Community Board 12 in December that construction would begin during the first quarter of 2013.

But the start of the year came and went without any changes.

CB12 District Manager Ebenezer Smith said the board learned of the latest delays in May, when a Port Authority representative attended a District Services Cabinet meeting and told attendees that they did not have a timetable for construction.

The representative "said that they don't have any date because they were in conversation with the developer," Smith said via email, adding that the representative did not provide an update at the June meeting.

Valens, meanwhile, said the delayed was caused in part by GWB Development Venture LLC hiring Tutor Perini Corporation as the project's contractor. Valens said that the parties are currently in the process of finalizing designs for the project.

GWB Development Venture LLC, which is based out of Reston, Virginia, did not return calls for comment. 

Valens added that the project was close to groundbreaking, but declined to give a time frame.

But now City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez is calling on the Port Authority to get things started already.

"I hope the Port Authority sets a date for the groundbreaking soon," Rodriguez said. "Washington Heights has been waiting with great anticipation for this renovation. With a beautiful new building to shepherd visitors into the area, the economic benefits can have resounding effects for our community."