Columbus Circle Reconstruction

This 25 million dollar project was for New York City DDC. The work in this 225,000 Sq-Ft project would entailed the total rehabilitation of the actual circle which was almost inaccessible to the public for decades and the reconstruction of the roadway around the circle for better traffic flow and to allow greater access to the circular plaza and fountain being given a total facelift all this while approximately 60,000 cars used the circle daily.

The circle reconstruction started with the relocation of sewer lines, water mains, gas mains and steam pipes so as to avoid going underneath the circle so as to allow for the construction of an underground chamber to house all the equipment to operate the new fountain. The installation of the sewer line required Tully to excavate 1000 cubic yards of Manhattan schist rock in a 5 foot wide trench without blasting because of the proximity of 1,2, and 3 IRT subway lines under Broadway and the A,B,C and D IND lines under Eighth Avenue and Central Park West. This delicate excavation was done by drilling and splitting the rock being very careful to protect the adjacent existing utilities such as electric and telephone duct banks. This work continued up both 62nd street and 59th Street where Tully had to remove the existing trolley tracks and there foundations. Along with adding three elevator shafts which Tully had to cut three holes in the top of the subway roof to install structural steel and modify the existing structure to fit the shafts which are below grade and serve parts of the MTA’s subway stations below, this is part of the agency’s separate effort to meet the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. All of this additional work was done to avoid the need for any future construction in the area around the Columbus circle.

Once the roadway was completed Tully could now shift into construction of the fountain and plaza. Tully excavated a 40 ft by 30 ft by 20 ft deep hole to create the mechanical room to house the pumps and controls for the fountain. Almost all of this excavation was Manhattan schist which is some of the hardest rock there is. Again Tully had to excavate this material very cautiously because of the adjacent utilities and subway tunnels. Again Tully was forced to use the drill and spilt method for the better part of month to remove this rock. There was no blasting or even the use of large hoe-rams to bang it out.  Tully then installed special catch basins on top of the subway tunnel and then formed and poured concrete floor and walls for the mechanical room. Once the mechanical equipment was installed Tully could now focus on the above ground work of the central plaza.

The first task was building three pools for the fountain but the waterproofing required a minimum curing temperature of 70 degrees. Tully built enclosures or tents covering the pool areas using 60,000 BTU heaters in each tent Tully was able to maintain a 80 degree temperature which allowed for the construction of the pools which included concrete pours, mechanical piping, Mesabi black granite block installation, and waterproofing all during the winter advancing the completion schedule by 4 to 5 months.

The fountain which circulates 60,000 gallons of water, into the pump room has separate pumps for each of the cascades and 99 nozzles, as well as debris strainer, filter brominater, municipal water hook up and waste water discharge system.

The mechanical room also housed the electrical system to power the parks 300 plus colored lights and lighted hand railings. This system also powered such features as a senor that assesses wind direction and adjusts the nozzle patterns accordingly to avoid spraying water outside of the fountain pool. The fountains designer and manufacturer WET Design of Sun Valley California which has design may of the famous fountain you see in Las Vegas can monitor and control the equipment remotely.
By the spring Tully was completing the granite slab installation along with the installation of curbs, planters, and ring walls using other types of granite pavers, copings and veneers. Landscaping was installed and the job was completed ahead of schedule.

Tully custom built 55 ft to 74 ft long benches made of sturdy tropical Ipe hardwood that can last over 25 years outdoors. Landscaping was installed and the job was completed ahead of schedule. The end product is a new gathering place and tourist attraction for all of New York City.

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