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West 28th Street Substation: FAQ

Updated Oct 10, 2022


What is the duration of construction for the project?

Construction will begin in late 2022 or early 2023 and is anticipated to last 39 months. Approximately 24 months of that construction will take place at street level, and 15 months will take place underground. After 24 months, West 28th Street and the nearby sidewalk will be fully restored for traffic and pedestrian use. 

What will the construction zone look like?

The zone established by the Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT) will be made of orange and white timber barriers and blue fencing. Steel plates will be used to cover excavated areas outside of barricaded areas. Construction vehicles will be present on West 28th Street and will periodically enter and exit the construction zone.

MTA’s contractor will be required to be meet regulations to control construction’s effect on adjacent communities.

Where will equipment staging occur?

Equipment staging area will be within the work zones established along West 28th Street.

What communication efforts will be made throughout the project?

A system of communication between the MTA and the community will be established. More information is available on the project website.

Any comments/concerns can be sent to w28thoutreach@mtacd.org

Will notice be provided for work lookaheads / access restrictions / phase changes?

We're committed to working with the community and will provide as much notice as possible for upcoming work. We'll post regular updates on the project website. MTA will send regular notifications to area elected officials, as well as the local community board and Penn South Board.

Has outreach been done to nearby organizations the offer community services?

We have reached out to businesses or organizations that may be affected by construction. For any additional information please contact us via email at w28thoutreach@mtacd.org


What are the construction hours?

Work hours are anticipated as follows:

Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

After 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and on Saturdays, noise construction activities will be minimized in accordance with the city noise regulations

Will there be blasting during construction?

There will be no blasting for this project.

Will residential and businesses entrances access be impacted during construction?

Access to adjacent properties and local business will be maintained at all times. All deliveries, emergency services, sanitation, etc. will not be interrupted.

Will there be disruptions in the utility service?

During construction, utility service may be temporarily disrupted. This disruption will not last more than 6 hours, and the community will get notification a week in advance. It is anticipated that there could be approximately 6 occasions.

Will neighborhood residents have access to Access-A-Ride for the entire construction duration?

The access will be maintained at all times. The Access-A-Ride stop will be relocated closer to 9th Avenue during above-ground construction.

What measures will be taken for dust control?

The Contractor will develop and implement a Dust Control Plan during all phases of construction. Some dust control measures that could be used include wet suppression, wind screens, wind barriers, or tools with HEPA vacuum.

What measures will be taken for rodent control?

The Contractor will develop and implement a Vector Control Plan (for rodents, mosquitos, insects, and more) using the services of Certified Pest Controller for the duration of construction. This plan will include a 1,000-foot zone around the construction area. When a vector problem is identified, the contractor will implement physical controls, which could include baits and traps, sealing of structures/buildings, improving sanitation and food storage, and other bridgeable waste management strategies. The contractor will utilize rodent-proof dumpsters, compactors, and trash cans. Metal decking over the street excavations will be secured to prevent harborage of rodents. The contractor may use repellents to exclude rodents from work areas, including chemical agents, electric fences or ultrasonic sound. At the completion of construction activities, the Contractor needs to certify that the rodent/pest population has been successfully controlled or eradicated.

What are the contractual noise mitigation requirements?

The Contractor will prepare a Noise Control, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan. This Plan will include a section with established procedures to implement the developed noise mitigation measures. This should include noise reduction methods, materials, and equipment in accordance with Title 15, Rules of the City of New York, Chapter 28. All construction equipment will have sound deadening/noise suppression devices. Where possible, electrically operated hoists and compressor plants will be used. Pile drivers will be equipped with mufflers and trucks need to have rubber or plywood liners to absorb dumping material noise.

How will vibration be monitored?

The Contractor will perform a pre- and post-construction condition inspection of the adjacent buildings and will develop a plan to monitor vibration and settlement. In addition, the Contractor will comply with NYC Building Code Technical Policy and Procedure Notices (TPPN) #10/88 for protection from vibration for historic structures.

Will the construction site occupy any Penn South property?

This project will be constructed entirely within the NYC DOT right-of-way (street and sidewalks), so no property will be acquired for this project.

Will any parking spaces be lost?

Several parking spaces along West 28th Street will be unavailable throughout the phases of construction. It is anticipated that the maximum number of spaces lost in any given phase is approximately 30 spots for 24 months. All parking spaces will be restored when construction is completed.

How will traffic on West 28th Street change during construction?

At least one eastbound vehicle lane will be maintained throughout all phases of construction at street level (24 months) and the width will be sufficient for the passage of emergency vehicles.

Will sidewalks be closed during construction?

A minimum width of 5 feet of sidewalk will be maintained during construction. If this cannot be maintained, the pedestrian traffic will be re-routed to the opposite side of the street via a temporary crosswalk and a flagger will be provided to guide pedestrians across West 28th Street. This applies to the 24 months of street-level construction.

Will any trees be affected by the construction?

An ISA Certified Arborist will survey the trees surrounding the construction site and will develop a Tree Protection Plan. Penn South’s landscaped open spaces will not be affected by the project and will remain open during construction.

Environmental impacts

What type of environmental review was done for the project?

MTA performed a full site assessment and impact analysis in the Environmental Due Diligence Assessment, available on this site.

Are electromagnetic fields a concern?

Major health industry statements indicate that there are no known health effects from electromagnetic fields associated with substations. Therefore, there are no regulatory requirements associated with EMF and the installation of substations. There are no federal or state standards related to the public health effects from electric and magnetic fields to serve as a basis for determining a level of impact.

An EMF study for the extension of the   train to Hudson Yards was prepared based on data from Con Edison substations as well as some additional references. Measurements were obtained in the surrounding neighborhood. The conclusion was that, to date, there is no sound medical or scientific basis to conclude that EMF causes cancer or any other disease. Neither the medical or scientific communities have been able to provide any numerical exposure value of foundation upon which Federal or State regulatory bodies could establish a standard or limit for public exposure that is known to be either safe or harmful.

Will the substation impact air quality?

There are no emission sources associated with the operation of the station.

Will the substation make noise once it's operational?

The noise from the operating substation is indistinguishable from background ambient street noise.

Who will be responsible for routine cleaning and maintenance of the substation?

The MTA Maintenance of Way Substations User Group will be responsible for the maintenance of this substation.

How often will maintenance be performed?

Cleaning and miscellaneous maintenance may be performed approximately three times a month and inspections are required once a week. In every case, the substation will be accessed through the hatch located on the sidewalk. The surrounding community will not be impacted by the routine maintenance. Any other major repairs are considered every 20 to 40 years.


Why was the 28th Street location chosen and how was it selected?

New York City Transit identified 30 alternate locations for the site, but West 28th Street was determined to be the most beneficial location.

The substation location needs to be located within close proximity (ideally 300 feet or less) of existing subway tracks, to minimize the distance from the transformer to the third rail power distribution system. 

West 28th Street allows the MTA to deliver the additional power to the system with the least amount of impact on the surrounding community. It meets the power connection criteria identified in the traction power systems study for the needs of the 8th Avenue Line, has sufficient street width to perform construction without street closure, and will experience minimal subsurface utility issues. Additionally, the closest Penn South residential building is located at minimum 75 feet from the site. Construction will not require temporary or permanent easements.

Why didn’t the MTA choose the FIT site?

As noted above, the West 28th Street site was initially identified as the optimal location. After doing our investigation on 30 other possible sites between 26th and 43rd Streets, West 28th Street was confirmed as being the optimal location.

There are inherent complications with the FIT site(s) that make them less optimal than the West 28th Street location: Close proximity to the FIT Dubinsky Student Center entrance would create a potential safety hazard, the narrow street width, and concurrent ongoing construction at nearby locations.

Why didn’t the MTA go with the 31st Street Location?

In May 2019, TA Team surveyed the Amtrak Moynihan Station and found one possible spot for the proposed substation located in Yard E. The Substation would have to be built below 31st Street under the newly built pedestrian plaza, adjacent to Amtrak’s new Fan Chamber and above active Amtrak tracks. The substation would have been built with a reduced footprint, which would restrict the required power capacity and make it incapable of supporting the CBTC upgrade. This location offered only partial access to substation at track level and no access at street level. It was determined that this area was not viable alternative as it would have impacted Amtrak, DOT, New York state, and LIRR work and operations, and still would not provide the required electrical capacity.


Did the MTA board approve this contract and location?

The project is part of the approved 2020-2024 Capital Plan. The Board will not vote on the specific location of the substation. The procurement method, in which the lowest construction bidder was selected, does not require additional Board action.

When will the 23 St station be made accessible?

Making the 23 St station ADA  accessible is not part of this project scope. The station was not identified to receive ADA improvements as part of the 2020-2024 Capital Plan. While the MTA has not yet started prioritization for the next Capital Plan, Penn South residents, and all communities, will have opportunities for input throughout that process.

Will compensation be made available for anyone impacted by this project?

The work for this project will take place on and below the public right of way, and there is no anticipated change to the street at the end of construction. As no easements or other such acquisitions are required, no compensation is planned.

What happens if the project runs over and is not completed on time?

MTA has established via contract requirements a series of incentives to reduce the construction duration and a series of penalties for to reduce delays. Milestones have been established to help keep the project on track.

What is the size of the excavation?
Approximately 36 ft x 110 ft and 40 ft deep. 

Will Penn South's landmark designation impact the project?

The construction is not encroaching upon any Penn South property and its entirely confined to the 28th street and sidewalk.

What measures will be implemented to ensure the construction site does not attract any criminal activity and remains safe?

MTA will consult with the local police precinct and inform them of our construction site and take all recommended measures to ensure the site does not attract criminal activity. We will be responsive to community concerns regarding the site and modify as necessary to ensure it remains safe and free of criminal activity.

Will union labor be utilized for this project?