Thursday, November 24, 2011

Upper East Side Subway Work Creates Air Pollution Problems

2nd Avenue Subway Tunneling
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), underground explosions were halted Tuesday at one of three Upper East Side stations being constructed on the long-delayed Second Avenue subway to address complaints about air quality. The MTA said blasting will cease until Dec. 5 at the 72nd Street station site so changes can be made in how dirt and dust created by construction is processed. MTA contractors have been using explosives to blast out caverns that will eventually be turned into a subway station underneath Second Avenue.
There is a large amount of dust that is coming out, and the MTA is figuring out how to take further precautions to protect the air quality. At a meeting of the Second Avenue Subway committee of Community Board No. 8 on the Upper East Side, residents said the dust and odor from the blasting is a possible health hazard. They said dust and smoke blankets the area after each blast.

MTA air-quality data collected in September showed that levels of toxins in the air blasting didn't exceed federal standards.

Blasting at 72nd Street is about 40% complete and should be finished by the middle of next year. The pause won't delay the project and MTA expects the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, which runs between 63rd Street and 96th Street, to be finished by the end of 2016. (WSJ, 11/23/2011)

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