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Expanding and Reinvigorating America’s Busiest Transit Hub: Moynihan Train Hall Project Wins OCEA Silver Award

by: Jessica Hoover
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announces the upgrade and redesign of Moynihan Train Hall in New York City as the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Silver Award Winner. The OCEA Award, which recognizes civil engineering projects around the country, honors projects that exemplify engineering skill and provide considerable contributions to local and regional communities, in addition to advancements of the civil engineering profession.

Eleven OCEA Honor Awards were announced in January 2022, and the winner and two runners-up were recently announced as part of ASCE’s 2022 Convention at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

“These trophy winners are redesigning communities, improving mobility, and positively impacting the environment for the generations to follow,” said Dennis D. Truax, ASCE President. “Civil engineers are problem solvers, but they are also vision creators. These projects blend beauty with function and will elicit inspiration in the future workforce.”

Moynihan Train Hall Restores and Preserves Iconic Piece of New York City History
Transforming the 108-year-old James A. Farley Post Office, the Moynihan Train Hall project reinvigorates America’s busiest transit hub and dramatically expands the existing Penn Station rail complex’s concourse space. After the original Penn Station was demolished in the mid-1960s, plans to expand the station into the Farley building started to arise in 1992.

“Talks … began as early as 1992, but it wasn’t until the right team and the right timing came along that the city’s grand vision was able to be brought to life,” said John Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Operations for Skanska USA Civil, the construction manager for the project. “From a historical preservation aspect, the project successfully restored the entire exterior and adjacent annex of a 100+- year-old structure, transforming a previously underutilized space into a 21st century transportation hub, all the while balancing historical elements with modern-day design.”

The public-private partnership of Empire State Development, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Long Island Rail Road, Vornado Realty Trust, the Related Companies, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Skanska led this three-phase project, which included:

  • The renovation of 1.4 million square feet of transit, retail, and commercial office space, which included the restoration of the building’s original facade, terra-cotta cornices, and other original details
  • The construction of a 92-foot-high glass canopy roof and skylight that spans about an acre above the former post office’s historic steel trusses and new concourse level
  • A major demolition of all existing structural and architectural elements, asbestos, and lead abatement, as well as a structural steel reinforcement and rehabilitation package of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems
  • New security features, improved sanitation systems, upgraded lighting and wayfinding, and digital screens to convey information
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Along with giving commuters improved access to nine platforms and 17 tracks, the 225,000-square-foot Moynihan Train Hall project also increases total concourse floor space in the station complex by more than 50 percent. Throughout construction, the team worked to ensure the adjacent post office at the Farley building’s Eighth Avenue entrance remained operational.

“The entire team on the project worked diligently to avoid any service disruptions on the 30 active rail tracks during this time, and — despite 108 weekend shutdowns spread out over two years — there was never a single occurrence of any of the trains on Penn Station’s four operating railroads being delayed,” Sullivan said.

The project received a LEED for Transit Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for environmentally friendly features such as the use of natural lighting throughout the complex, the use of recycled materials, and intermodal connections to various transportation options.

The Moynihan Train Hall project team included: Skanska as construction manager, Skidmore Owings & Merrill as architect, WSP as program manager, Severud as structural engineer, and Jaros, Baum & Bolles as MEP engineer.

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