Community Group Wants to Shift the Shaft

glassbig Community Group Wants to Shift the Shaft

The East 50’s Neighborhood Coalition has filed for a preliminary injunction against the Department of Environmental Protection’s planned Shaft 33B, at 59th Street and First Avenue, which would connect water mains to Water Tunnel No. 3, the city’s 50-year, $6 billion infrastructure project.

The coalition contends that an alternate site between 55th and 56th streets on Third Avenue would be a better location for the shaft as it is directly over the water main trunk, obviating the need for further work that would disrupt the neighborhood. “We want [the D.E.P.] to look again at the site at 919 Third Avenue, which our engineers tell us is a viable site directly over the water mains,” said Linda Saputelli, the chair of the coalition.

The coalition contends that:

*DEP had a duty to examine the environmental impacts of reasonable
alternative sites, even if that would require use of its eminent domain
powers.

*Four years of continuous water main construction constitutes
significant environmental impacts

*Neighborhood residents and businesses will suffer irreparable injury
if construction of Shaft 33B commences

The coalition has been battling the D.E.P. over this issue since late last year; the D.E.P. originally wanted to get started on the excavation next spring, with a completing date sometime by 2010. Construction of the connecting water mains would begin concurrently and and finish up by 2011.

-Matthew Grace

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