TriBeCa has been under siege by jackhammers, dust and road-enraged New Jersey drivers since 9/11. And it appears the life-altering disruptions will outlive the Bloomberg administration.
Two weeks ago, the city began a five-year project near the Holland Tunnel to replace ancient water mains and connect the area to a new water tunnel system. Workers will be digging on a 12-block swath, forcing the closure of two of Hudson Street’s four lanes until 2015. A detour, meanwhile, dumps cars into west SoHo.
Traffic on Chambers Street, another main TriBeCa artery, is also being disrupted because of a three-year project that began this summer to update the water and sewage systems.
“People down here are tired of living in a construction zone,” said
Howard Mash, an area resident.
Mash added he’s especially worried about more dust as well as water being shut off at times, which could be a huge problem for mothers taking care of children at home.
Many also fear that the growing traffic jams, which inflict honking horns and plumes of exhaust fumes on the neighborhood, will become a nonstop headache.
“We’d like to see that our local streets don’t become storage areas for cars,” said Ellen Baer, president of Hudson Square Connection, a business improvement district.
The $60 million Department of Design and Construction project comes on the heels of major renovation projects in the nabe, including along Greenwich Street and at the Fulton Street Transit Center in the adjacent Financial District.
“It is absolutely undeniable that people in the TriBeCa area have been through a great deal the past 10 years,” said Matthew Monahan, DDC spokesman. But, “it’s to ensure a reliable system for decades ahead.”
One water main being replaced on Beach between Hudson and Greenwich streets was installed five years after the Civil War ended, he said.
Besides the annoyance of sporadic water shutoffs, there could be more rats scurrying around as the streets get dug up, adding to the mess and possibly sinking property values. Some TriBeCa-ites also questioned why the city needs five years to fix infrastructure affecting a fairly small area.
“The Holland Tunnel was built in seven [years] and they can’t fix a water main in five?” said Sean Sweeney, director of the SoHo Alliance civic group.