FINANCIAL DISTRICT — After chunks of ice began plummeting from One World Trade Center last week, the Port Authority is building a protective shed to keep pedestrians safe.
The shed will cover the area outside the World Trade Center PATH station entrance on Vesey Street, which has been shut down during morning rush hour twice in the past week because of the falling ice. Last Friday, the Port Authority was forced to temporarily halt PATH service to the station altogether, because of the bottleneck of commuters all trying to leave through the one remaining open exit.
Falling ice also shuttered the Vesey Street entrance Tuesday morning.
Port Authority spokesman Anthony Hayes said the agency was building the shed “to ensure public safety against the ice fall.”
Workers were busy Wednesday afternoon constructing the metal and wood barrier in the blustery cold.
When asked whether the cover would be enough to protect against the fall of ice blocks, a worker, who asked that his name not be used, replied: “Well, look, you never know where the wind blows.”
Hayes said that the shed was a precautionary step, but the agency will continue to monitor the ice fall, and will potentially close the entrance again if necessary.
The Port Authority is also taking measures to rid the building of the some of the potential sites of the ice build-up, like a temporary construction elevator.
“World Trade Center Construction crews will continue to proactively remove ice from the building and the construction hoist throughout the winter season,” the Port Authority said in a statement. “Additionally, PATH and Port Authority Police will continue to deploy added Customer Service Representatives and officers to direct traffic, answer questions and ensure public safety.”
But, Hayes said, "ice accumulation occurs throughout the city's buildings," and the falling ice was not unique to One World Trade Center.
Several commuters Wednesday afternoon said they were happy to see some kind of cover outside of the PATH station.
"I was caught in the mess [the closure of the station] on Friday morning," said Jessica Serrano, 34. "I have to use this station, so this is certainly better than nothing."