FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE00-54
to Tunnel Workers Who Lost Their Lives During Construction of City
Water Tunnel No. 3 Planned for Van Cortlandt Site in the Bronx
To commemorate 23 tunnel workers -- sandhogs, operating engineers,
and DEP and contractor's employees -- who lost their lives during
construction of City Tunnel No. 3, a ceremony took place on Tuesday,
October 31 at 11:30 a.m. at the site of the proposed memorial, the
traffic circle near Van Cortlandt Park at the intersection of Van
Cortlandt Park East and Katonah Avenue.
Construction of the City's Third Water Tunnel, notably the City's
largest capital construction project in its history, began in 1970.
Since that time 23 tunnel workers have lost their lives. Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr.,
P. E., in recounting the obstacles and dangers confronted by tunnel
builders said, "No sacrifice can match that of a very special
group of men, the 23 workers who died on the job while building the
water tunnel. The memorial we plan to build on this site will honor
their courage and generosity in selflessly giving their lives so that
future generations of New Yorkers continue enjoying the highest quality
drinking water. The commitment of those who have risked and lost their
lives, will be forever memorialized at this location in the Woodlawn
Heights section of the Bronx, selected because of its proximity to
the underground chamber that directs flows from upstate water supply
systems to all City boroughs."
Senator Guy Velella, who attended the Ceremony said, "This
memorial is for all workers who have given their lives for a better
New York. The laborers we are commemorating lost their lives during
the construction of the City Water Tunnel No. 3. This new memorial
will serve as a constant reminder to all of us that many of the services
we take for granted came at a very high price."
In addition to Senator Velella and DEP Commissioner Miele, the ceremony
was attended by New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner,
Iris Weinshall, Richard T. Fitzsimmons, President of Sandhog Union,
Local 147, Tom Maguire, President of Local 15, International Union
of operating Engineers, Monsignor Toner of Saint Barnabas Parish,
NYFD Battalion 15 Chief Keith Cardtica, Bronx Community Board 12 Chairman,
Father Richard Gorman and District Manager, Ms. Carmen Angueira,
members of local community groups and associations, and family members
of workers who are to be memorialized.
The memorial will contain a register of those who gave their lives:
The City's water originates as far as 125 miles north and west of
the City in three watersheds. Two City tunnels, No. 1 and 2 completed
in 1917 and 1936 respectively have been the City's source of delivery
since their completion. However, projected demands on the water supply
system led the City to recognize the need for a third water tunnel.
Construction of Tunnel No. 3 is divided into four stages. In 1998,
Mayor Giuliani announced the activation of the 13 mile length of Stage
1, which is currently delivering water to the Bronx and upper Manhattan.
When completed, in 2020, the 60 mile long Tunnel No. 3, will significantly
enhance the City's ability to continue delivery of its highest quality
drinking water to millions of thirsty consumers.