It’s Dec. 31, 2020 in New York City, and because of the pandemic, Times Square is quiet. But eight blocks to the south, engineers and contractors work intensely to finish a transit station that has been years—no, decades—in the making: the Moynihan Train Hall.
At about 6 p.m., less than 12 hours before the station’s scheduled opening, NYC Buildings issued the certificate of occupancy (CO), and the crew popped the champagne corks.
“It was an exhilarating feeling, especially after the stress of rushing to do everything that was required on the last day to obtain the CO and all the trauma of 2020 due to COVID,” said WSP USA’s Shaun Pratt, who managed the $1.6 billion project for WSP’s client, Empire State Development. “There had been times over the previous seven to eight months when it didn’t seem possible that we’d actually meet the January 1st opening.”
The building is the Moynihan Train Hall, a 255,000-square-foot expansion of Penn Station – the busiest transit facility in the Western Hemisphere, used by more than 700,000 passengers every day. Located in the 108-year-old, one-million-square-foot Farley Building in downtown Manhattan, the new facility combines historic charm with modern convenience and technology to improve passenger experience in the Big Apple.
Not only did Pratt and his colleagues manage the project to on-time completion, but they also saved the client, Empire State Development (ESD), an estimated $100 million in costs from change orders, and they re-worked lighting and seating systems to improve aesthetics, efficiency, function and comfort.
For these and other accomplishments, Moynihan Train Hall was chosen as WSP’s Project of the Year in the over-$15 million category.