Columbus Circle Reconstruction
Project of the Year 2005
New York Construction
New York City DDC awarded Tully the contract for the total rehabilitation of Columbus Circle which was almost inaccessible to the public for decades and the reconstruction of the roadway around the circle to improve traffic flow allowing greater access to the circular pedestrian plaza and fountain area. This total reconstruction occurred while approximately 60,000 cars used the traffic circle daily.
The project entailed the relocation of sewer lines, water mains, gas mains and steam pipes avoiding underneath the circle, to allow for the construction of an underground chamber to house all the equipment to operate the new fountain. The installation of the sewer line required Tully to excavate 1000 cubic yards of Manhattan schist rock in a 5 foot wide trench without blasting because of the proximity of subway lines under Eighth Avenue and Central Park West. This delicate excavation was done by drilling and splitting the rock while protecting the adjacent existing utilities such as electric and telephone duct banks. This work continued up both 62nd street and 59th Street where Tully had to remove the existing trolley tracks.
Once the roadway was completed Tully shifted it’s focus into construction of the fountain and plaza. Tully excavated a 40 ft by 30 ft by 20 ft deep hole, primarily of schist rock, to create the mechanical room to house the pumps and controls for the fountain. Tully constructed three pools for the fountain and the waterproofing required a minimum curing temperature of 70 degrees. Tully built enclosures or tents covering the pool areas using 60,000 BTU heaters in each tent maintaining an 80 degree temperature which allowed for the construction of the pools, concrete pours, mechanical piping, Mesabi black granite block installation, and waterproofing during the winter advancing the completion schedule by 4 to 5 months.
The fountain circulates 60,000 gallons of water through a pump room with separate pumps for each of the cascades and 99 nozzles, as well as debris strainer, filter brominater, municipal water hook up and waste water discharge system. The mechanical room holds the electrical system to power the parks 300 plus colored lights and lighted hand railings. This system also powered such features as a sensor that assesses wind direction and adjusts the nozzle patterns accordingly to avoid spraying water outside of the fountain pool. The fountains designer and manufacturer WET Design of Sun Valley California can monitor and control the equipment remotely. The end product is product is a new gathering place and tourist attraction for all of New York City.