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2002 Award of Merit: Transit Project
Rensselaer Rail Station

Development Team

    OWNER: Capital District Transportation Authority, Albany, NY
    ARCHITECT: Stracher-Roth Gilmore, Schenectady, NY 12305
    ARCHITECT/ENGINEER: Vollmer Associates, NYC
    STRUCUTRAL ENGINEER: Ryan-Biggs Associates, Troy, NY
    MECHANICAL, ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING ENGINEER: Sage /Engineering Associates, Albany, NY
    RAILROAD PLATFORM, TRACK & SITE ENGINERS: Smith & Mahoney, Albany, NY
    ROOFING CONTRACTOR: WeatherGuard Roofing Co. Schenectady, NY
    CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: U.W. Marx/Bovis, a joint venture, Rensselaer, NY

Improving New York's capital district as a transportation hub, the Rensselaer Rail Station now boasts a new, $53 million, four-story, 67,000-sq.-ft. station with a 635-car parking garage and a new connecting bridge spanning the railroad track.

The bridge, which was built under a separate $4.5 million contract, is 34-ft.-wide and 125-ft. long with enclosed escalators, stairs and elevator access to both platforms. It was designed to serve as an extension of the station's main concourse and provides barrier-free access from a vehicular drop-off area to the island platforms.

In addition, another piece of the building comes out from the front of the building and serves as a passenger loading structure and houses the escalators, elevators and 500-ft.-long loading platforms.

One of the project's most difficult construction tasks was building the station passaround over existing railroad tracks. To accomplish this task, Tracks were relocated and precast concrete members were used to span 110-ft. over the tracks. In addition, the project required a floor structure that had to be installed in sections, almost like a puzzle. To build a precast concrete structure over the tracks required a phased construction schedule that included working at night and working around a 26-train schedule on a daily basis.

Positioning the precast concrete over the railroad tracks became a coordination issue. The solution was developing and maintaining a close working relationship with the railroads and to monitor the train schedules to effectuate the installation of the platforms using overhead cranes.

The phased schedule was also used for the construction of the parking garage, the station and the bridge.

The installation of 30,000-sq.-ft. of copper roofing and siding on eight roof areas was also difficult. The copper roofing and siding had to be installed using mechanically fastened 2.5-in. polyisocyanurate insulation and 0.5-in. plywood on to the metal deck. To meet the schedule for the roof, the roofing contractor used 10-person crews to complete the work in six months.

Installation of the station's 3-ton, handcrafted copper dome was also a challenge. It had to be hosted to the top of the station by crane and guided into place by a three-ember crew before it could be secured to the building.

"This difficult project," the jury said, "required that work be performed while the station remained operational. The station will serve as an important link to New York's Capital District."

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