Volume 81, Number 11 | August 11 - 17, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

With 50 feet of them still sticking out aboveground, 75 piles have been driven in halfway at the Spring St. megagarage project site.

Sanitation pounds down rumor
about its Spring St. megagarage

By Lincoln Anderson

Judging by outward appearances — and recent blissful silence after weeks of thunderous pile driving — the work on the three-district Department of Sanitation megagarage at Spring St. by the West Side Highway seems to have ceased, at least temporarily.

One rumor circulating in Hudson Square, according to Rip Hayman, the owner of the Ear Inn building, is that the construction actually had “undermined” the highway, causing an emergency work stoppage.

However, Matthew Lipani, a D.O.S. spokesperson, said that rumor was completely unfounded.

“The construction does not ‘undermine’ the West Side Highway, and there is no ‘stop-work’ order at the site,” Lipani said. “All buildings in this area are built on piles to transfer heavy loads to adequately supportive soil or bedrock. The piles at the project site have at this time only been driven halfway because we are awaiting the results of certain normal pile load tests. While there are no unusual issues anticipated with the pile load results, there may be a short hiatus of a couple of weeks in resuming pile driving while the results are obtained and evaluated. This is not unusual.”

A supervisor at the site this week confirmed Lipani’s remarks. The supervisor, who asked that his name not be printed, said 800 piles, each 100 feet long, will be driven for the project. So far, 87 piles have been driven. Most of these, however, have only been sunk halfway into the ground, but 12 have been pounded in their full length.

The tests are being done specifically on three of these 12 piles. Hydraulic jacks are being used to gauge the piles’ load-bearing ability. The results will determine whether 800 piles are enough or if more are needed. The findings are expected pretty soon, he said.

Hayman, for one, said since the site sits on landfill from when Manhattan’s original shoreline was expanded, it’s really most suited for low buildings, not a 120-foot-tall garage, the equivalent of a 12-story building.

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