Transportation facility nearing completion

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brookhaven’s Multi-Modal Transportation Facility is just weeksaway from being finished, project officials said Monday as workcontinued at the project site on North Railroad Avenue.

As workers laid bricks and put up large steel beams by thetracks Monday, Paul Jackson Project Superintendent Jamie Harveysaid very little remains to be done before the facility can be openfor business. He said if the weather holds up just right, it couldbe about two weeks and the doors could be open.

“We’ve got the inside completed. Caps will go on the tops of thepiers and we’ll cover that area over there,” he said, indicating aplace by the train tracks where people will be able to board frombeneath a covered area. “It’ll be covered at the track.”

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There will be a walkway from the building to the tracks, but theshort walk will not be under a canopy, Harvey said.

The transportation hub is now manifest where the old power planthas long lain dormant, under the smokestack on Railroad Avenue. Itis now the culmination of a project the city has worked toward foralmost 10 years.

For a project that has hit so many hitches, it has gone well,Harvey said.

“Overall it’s gone good,” he said. “There have been delays, butthat’s in every job.”

The project, for many years, appeared to be somewhatsnake-bitten, starting off as a multi-million dollar plan. Butthrough the years, it had to be downsized to fit the city’sbudget.

The estimate in 2005 was around $900,000. Paul Jackson and Son’sbid on the project in 2009 was $932,000, with several alternativesthat deal with issues such as demolition and fencing that willamount to another $36,400.

The initial project included a parking garage, restaurants andretail areas in addition to transportation services. There was eventalk of a sports museum possibly locating in the complex.

To fund that vision, which had an estimated $5 million pricetag, city officials secured up to $4 million in federalappropriations. Following a change in administrations, cityofficials opted to scale back the project and decided to releasemuch of the acquired appropriations back to the federalgovernment.

There were also dock height disputes, with an ongoing feud over7 inches between the Federal Railway Administration and CanadianNational Railroad, threatening to derail the project.

But those hurdles were cleared, and construction started July15, 2009.

As the progress has continued, there have been on-sitediscoveries and obstacles. Nothing the crew couldn’t handle,though, said Harvey.

The actual building project itself has encountered problems withthe weather, with torrential rain and freezing weather coming inturn, as well as underground sewer pipes and buried concrete thathad to be dealt with. Infrastructure and debris caused drainageissues, Harvey said.

But compared to the years it took to get there, that’snothing.

“There’s been some problems, but we’ve been able to work themout,” Harvey said.

In addition, Railroad Avenue has been cut off at the facilityand the land to the south of the building will be used as a parkinglot. The asphalt still needs to be put down, Harvey said, but thatis on the way.

The original completion date was April 17, Harvey said, but ifall continues to go well, it shouldn’t be more than a couple ofweeks off.

“The rain days bumped us up a little, but we’re almost done,” hesaid.