Hospital Over a Highway

by Aine Brazil, Senior Associate; Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York,
George E. Leventis, Vice President; Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, New York,
Mark F. McNeilly, Senior Engineer; Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, New York,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 2, Pg. 40-43


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: New York Hospital is undergoing a $1 billion expansion that includes construction of a new building over the FDR Drive in Manhattan using air rights. The starting point for this building is a 485 ft long platform that spans 91 ft over six lanes of highway. Not only does the platform serve as the base for the 12-story hospital addition now being built above the highway, it also acts as a staging area for construction during the project. The seven-section platform (and the new building) is also engineered to meet seismic requirements that will soon be mandated in New York City. The platform is designed to be freestanding in the event a bulkhead fails during an earthquake causing the FDR drive to slide into the East River. Finally, the platform must fit the special requirements of a hospital. Ambulances and vehicles enroute to the emergency room can access it from ramps on the FDR drive, parking is provided, and the platform's upper level and the new building's other floors will be interconnected with the floors of the existing hospital to facilitate circulation between the structures. This article also includes a description of the difficult geotechnical conditions and the caisson construction required to support the 38 columns on either side of the FDR drive. Construction challenges are also discussed, such as the need to erect the platform sections from a floating barge within a five-hour window when the highway is closed.

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