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May 8, 2010


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier  (718) 595-6600

DEP Completes Key Milestone for City Water Tunnel No. 3

8.5 Miles of Tunnels and 10 Shafts Constructed Along Manhattan Portion of Project; Contract Completion Comes During National Drinking Water Week

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced that DEP has completed a key construction contract for the Manhattan section of City Water Tunnel No. 3. Today's milestone marks the completion of the tunnel boring and installation of 8.5 miles of concrete liner and construction of 10 shafts along the tunnel that will bring water to the surface for distribution to New York City residents, businesses and visitors. The approximately $680 million contract employed more than 350 workers at its peak. The next and last phase of tunnel work in Manhattan includes the installation of piping, mechanical and electrical equipment in the tunnel shafts and distribution chambers. The cost of the upcoming work is $176 million. The Manhattan section of the tunnel is scheduled to be activated in 2013. The total City Water Tunnel No. 3 project costs $6 billion.

"The largest capital project ever undertaken in New York City — the construction of City Water Tunnel No. 3 — has been going on almost invisibly, hundreds of feet beneath the streets for decades," said Commissioner Holloway. "I would like to thank the hundreds of workers who have been engaged in this critical project and who are continuing DEP's great tradition of innovation in design and construction. This project represents one of the most significant investments in the future of the City's drinking water system. Mayor Bloomberg has made finishing the Manhattan portion of the tunnel a top priority and today we mark the completion of a key phase of work. It is appropriate that we reach this milestone during National Drinking Water Week as Water Tunnel No. 3 is a perfect symbol of the importance of investing in our drinking water system."

Construction of City Water Tunnel No. 3 began in 1970. The tunnel will enhance and improve the City's water delivery system, and allow for the inspection and repair of City Tunnels No. 1 and 2 for the first time since they were put into service, in 1917 and 1936, respectively. Tunnel depth ranges from 400 to 800 feet below ground, and the finished diameters of the tunnel will range from 10 feet to 24 feet. The amount of rock excavated during the first two stages of the project is approximately 82,000,000 cubic feet, or enough to fill both the Empire State Building and the new Yankee Stadium. The amount of concrete placed — approximately 30,000,000 cubic feet — can fill 80 percent of the Empire State Building.

Members of DEP's Engineering, Design and Construction staff designed and continue to manage the City Water Tunnel No. 3 project. The Bloomberg administration is committed to completing the tunnel and has dedicated more than $2.5 billion since 2002 to complete the project. The tunnel is being built in stages.
Stage 1 went into service in August 1998 and cost approximately $1 billion. This 13-mile segment runs from Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, through the Bronx, down Manhattan across Central Park, and into Astoria, Queens.

Stage 2 consists of two sections. The $750 million Brooklyn/Queens section has two distinct legs. The Brooklyn leg runs 5.5 miles from Red Hook, Brooklyn to Maspeth, Queens. It will also connect with the Richmond Tunnel, which delivers drinking water to Staten Island. From Maspeth, the Queens leg runs 5 miles through Woodside and Astoria. The Brooklyn and Queens legs connected on January 31, 1997, and concrete lining of both legs was completed in May 2001. The 8.5-mile Manhattan portion of Stage 2 of City Tunnel No. 3 consists of three segments and is located at an average depth of 540 feet below street level. Current construction of the different segments of the Manhattan leg originates from the same location on the far West Side. The first 3.5-mile segment runs south to lower Manhattan. Following this, the second 2.5-mile segment runs north to Central Park, and the final crosstown segment advances eastward before turning north. The Manhattan portion of the Stage 2 Tunnel is expected to begin delivering water by 2013.

New York City's water originates as far as 125 miles north and west of the city in three watersheds, comprising 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes, and covers a total area of almost 2,000 square miles. The water flows through aqueducts to balancing reservoirs; to the City's three main water tunnels; and then into the City's approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, which deliver water to the service lines of homes and buildings. For most of the 20th century, water was conveyed into the City by two tunnels, No. 1, and No. 2. Both tunnels are constructed deep within the bedrock of New York City.
DEP manages the City's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. DEP also manages storm water throughout the City, and ensures that the City's facilities comply with the Clean Water Act, and other federal, state and local rules and regulations.

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