Use of Precast Concrete at Manhattan’s Penn Station Project Keeps Trains Running with Uninterrupted Service

The Manhattan West project involved erecting a massive precast concrete platform over the rail tracks leading into Penn Station without disrupting 55 rail lines that ran underneath.

Due to the strength of precast concrete, no additional supports were needed. And because precast concrete is noncombustible, no fireproofing was necessary.

How does one build a plaza over the busiest set of railroad tracks in the busiest city in America – without bringing traffic to a screeching halt? Use a precast concrete design. That’s exactly what happened for the Manhattan West project, located over the tracks leading into Penn Station in Manhattan borough, New York City. Jersey Precast Corporation, a Mid-Atlantic Precast Association (MAPA) producer member, was a partner in the project, which received industry honors.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The Manhattan West project involved erecting a massive platform over the rail tracks leading into Penn Station without disrupting the 55 rail lines that ran constantly underneath. “The number of trains passing on these tracks is unbelievable,” shared Amir Ulislam of Jersey Precast.

Along with not stopping traffic, a key component of the project was finding a way to span the 240 feet (73 m) without installing intermediate steel columns, which would be too close to the rails to be safe. The structure also needed to be highly fire resistant. The project designer achieved all these high-performance goals using massive precast concrete spans in a segmental box and lift design. Each span consists of between 36 and 37 segments that weigh 1100 tons (98 kN) in total.

Due to the strength of precast concrete, no additional supports were needed. And because precast concrete is noncombustible, no fireproofing was…

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