Your Subway Was Delayed by 1930s Signals. A Fix Is Finally Coming.
To upgrade signals, the M.T.A. plans to spend $7 billion. But the much-needed repairs could mean fewer trains on nights and weekends.
New Yorkers have grown unhappily accustomed to hearing that their trains are delayed by “signal problems.” But most riders probably have no idea what that means.
The signal system is the invisible, unglamorous backbone of the subway, controlling when trains can move down the tracks. But the demands of a 21st-century ridership are being borne by archaic signal equipment, some of which dates to when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.
Installing modern signals is fundamental to restoring the subway to a level of reliability that is vital to New York’s economic future.
The aging system’s importance was underscored last week when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that it wanted to spend $7 billion to greatly expand the number of subway lines slated to get new signals.
Airport/Transit Best Project: South Airport APM Complex at Orlando International Airport
South Airport Automated People Mover (APM) Complex at Orlando International Airport
Owner: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA)
Lead Design Firm: HKS
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Hensel Phelps
Civil Engineer: Atkins
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore
MEP Engineer: TLC Engineering for Architecture
Bridging Architect: SchenkelShultz Architects
Mechanical Plumbing Engineer: Matern Professional Engineering
One of the first steps in Orlando International Airport’s multi-phase expansion plan was building the $262-million South Airport Automated People Mover Complex, which is designed to alleviate some of the parking demands at Florida’s busiest airport. The people mover, which delivers a three-and-a-half-minute ride to the airport’s main terminal, required particularly close attention to detail. Support plinths fabricated of high-tolerance concrete had to be built to within 1/16 in. of their specified heights to ensure precise placement of tracks.
To achieve perfect ground pitch, Hensel Phelps loaded and tightly compacted embankment soil for the plinth slabs over a 120-day period to achieve full settlement. The planning and meticulous approach paid off, with the guideway being placed atop the plinths with no rework required.
The project’s six-level, 1-million-sq-ft cast-in-place parking garage incorporates a column spacing design that accommodates approximately 2,400 vehicles, plus adaptability for rental car operations. With skylights and curtain walls maximizing the amount of natural light within the facility, the complex’s new central energy plant supports a cooling load of 2,100 tons and also provides backup electrical power.
Preparing the approximately 600-acre site for construction required extensive clearing, grading and earthwork as well as a road network that includes precast structures for future roadway crossings. Coordination of the multifaceted construction effort was essential, with as many as 13 cranes operating on site at a given time. Written plans and radios kept crane operators and project leaders in constant communication with each other to ensure all work was performed safely.
The South Airport APM Complex marked the aviation authority’s first construction management at-risk project. Previously, GOAA had used a hard-bid process resulting in a design that was 100% complete before hiring a contractor. From project inception, contractor Hensel Phelps worked with the authority to guide them in utilizing the construction management at-risk method to its full potential.
Although the facility incorporates a substantial amount of customized materials and a variety of new technologies, the project team’s value-engineering solutions yielded more than $7 million in savings as well as on-time completion. GOAA has since elected to utilize CMAR for the next phase of the expansion program.
SkyConnect APM inaugurated at Tampa International Airport
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA) has completed the installation of its SkyConnect automated people mover (APM) system at Tampa International Airport in Florida.
SkyConnect runs between Tampa’s Main Terminal, an economy garage and a new rental car center, covering 1.4 miles in approximately five minutes. The APM can transport up to 2,850 people per hour in each direction.
Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, said, “This is an exciting day for Tampa International Airport and the Tampa Bay community. The new SkyConnect people-mover system will help the airport grow for years to come, while continuing to offer exceptional customer service. We have a great partnership with MHIA and we are pleased with the safe and successful delivery of our SkyConnect system.”
MHIA received the APM order from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) in November 2014, and completed the project on budget and ahead of schedule. MHIA was responsible for the integration of the entire APM system, including installation work. SkyConnect is the eighth APM system delivered by MHIA in the US market, following previous successful APM projects at major airports in Orlando, Miami, Washington DC and Atlanta.
Darin Friedmann, vice president and general manager of MHIA’s transportation systems division, said, “With the dedication of our team and the close partnership with the airport, we opened this system ahead of our contractual schedule, and with record-breaking performance.
“We are proud to help transport passengers at Tampa International Airport, the birthplace of the APM industry, and help bring the airport into the future.”
MHIA was also awarded a five-year contract, with two additional five-year options, to perform operation and maintenance work for SkyConnect.