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Con Edison Media Relations
Contact: Joe Petta
Telephone: (212) 460-4111

For Immediate Release: January 21, 1998


When work began recently to create a pedestrian corridor in lower Manhattan, it marked a new kind of cooperation between Con Edison and the City of New York. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is sponsoring the project, but Con Edison is managing the construction - the first time it has ever managed construction of a city public-improvement project.

The $1.7 million project, of which $1 million is funded by the City, began construction on January 12. It will turn one block of Washington Street between Barclay and Vesey Streets into a pedestrian corridor between the World Trade Center Complex and the Greenwich Street corridor - an area known as the "main street" of Tribeca. It will entail relocating or replacing virtually all the underground facilities - electric, gas, water, sewer and telephone - in the highly congested underground infrastructure of that block and the adjacent intersections prior to actual construction of the corridor. The finished pedestrian area will feature patterned pavement, ornamental steel bollards and a vertical wayfinding element.

The standard practice for handling such projects has been for the sponsoring city agency to hire a consultant to engineer and manage the construction job. Affected utilities such as Con Edison typically contribute their engineering expertise during the planning process and then inspect their facilities as the work progresses. In this case, Con Edison coordinated the joint engineering effort, handled the bidding of the construction contracts and is acting with City oversight as the overall construction manager.

"We have extensive experience in this kind of construction, and a significant part of the work in this project involves our facilities. This kind of cooperation makes sense. Itís a good arrangement all around," said Victor C. Gonnella, Con Edisonís general manager of Construction Management.

"This is another example of the Mayor's ability to put successful public-private partnerships to work for the City. By working together, the City and Con Edison can get the entire job done at once without causing further delays or inconvenience to the area. This joint venture also enables us to lower costs and better coordinate construction," said EDC President Charles Millard.

Con Edison and EDC expect the project to take between 12 and 18 months to complete. The work on Washington Street will take place Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., but any work affecting Barclay or Vesey Streets will be restricted to night and weekend hours to avoid the high-traffic times downtown.

Upon completion of the project, a new staircase will be constructed from the plaza level at the 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC) building down to Washington Street by Silverstein Properties - the developer of 7 WTC. It will serve as a link between the World Trade Center and Washington Street.

The pedestrian corridor was designed by the firms of Vollmer Associates and Sowinski Sullivan Architects.

EDC is the City's primary agency for economic development services. Using its real estate and financial resources, EDC helps develop businesses and create jobs throughout the five boroughs.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. is one of the nationís largest utility companies, with nearly $7 billion in annual revenues and $14 billion in assets. The company, a subsidiary of Con Edison, Inc., provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. \n\n\n\n\n

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