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Construction on what has been described as New York City’s longest-running and most expensive construction project — a tunnel to expand the capacity of the water supply system — reached a new milestone yesterday. And it was ahead of schedule.

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Work on Manhattan sections of the tunnel have been taking place seven days-a-week — on multiple shifts.

The project is one arm of the extensive network of tunnels, aqueducts and reservoirs that comprise the city's remarkable water supply system.

Approximately 2,750 feet of new trunk water mains have been installed on the Upper East Side, along with upgrades to existing mains. The work was executed by the city’s departments of Environmental Protection and Design and Construction, who report that the $38 million construction project was completed five months early.

According to the DEP, trunk water mains range in size from 30 to 48 inches and “serve as a conduit between the large water tunnel shafts and the smaller water mains that make up the local distribution networks."

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After three years of waiting and debating, Councilwoman Gale Brewer said the controversial paid sick days bill could go to a vote as early as next week.

"April 25 -- that's the goal," Brewer said this afternoon. She said the language was still being finalized, but was confident it would go to a vote sooner rather than later.

The bill, Intro 0097, would be introduced through the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, which will convene the day before the bill heads to the Council's floor. It already has several cosponsors, including Speaker Christine Quinn, who held back a vote on the measure since Brewer first introduced the bill in 2010.

Quinn came under pressure in recent months as supporters of paid sick leave -- including unions and fellow mayoral candidates, most notably Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson -- demanded that the bill go to a vote. Quinn had long held that she didn't oppose the spirit of the bill, rather that the city's economy was too fragile to expect small business to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

However, despite initial opposition from chambers of commerce from all five boroughs and various business leaders, Quinn was able to draw up a compromise version of the bill that would not got into effect until next year, and only if it meets a minimum measure of a financial index released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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BRONX COURTS: The New York Times reported that the Bronx courts "are failing." In the first installment of a three-part series, William Glaberson writes that "a plague of delays in the Bronx criminal courts is undermining one of the central ideas of the justice system, the promise of a speedy trial." The story — based on an examination of court records, observations of trials, analyses of statistics and dozens of interviews — presents examples of the dysfunction of the Bronx criminal justice system. The second part was published today.

JAIL DEATHS: A state agency found that Correctional Medical Care Inc., a private health care provider for county jails, played a role in the deaths of nine inmates across New York between 2009 and 2011, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported Saturday. The state attorney general's office says it is investigating CMC. The company told the upstate newspaper that it hires qualified medical staff. The company says the jails it operates in consistently meet or exceed national standards in their jails.


Other Stories We're Following

Some Gun Law Provisions To Go Into Effect (Lower Hudson Journal)

Quinn Says Council Will Hold Hearing On School Safety Today (Huffington Post)

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named Tom Prendergrast as the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Prendergrast is filling a vacancy created by Joe Lhota who left to run for New York City mayor on the Republican ticket.

Prendergrast is a former MTA executive and has worked in transit for most of his career.

Here is Cuomo's statement on Prendergrast:

Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nation’s largest transportation system,” said Governor Cuomo. “The MTA plays a vital role in New York’s economy and the daily lives of the millions of commuters who use its services. Tom has vast experience in infrastructure and transportation and has spent years managing commuter railroads as well as New York City’s subways and buses. From the track bed to the budget to modernizing our system for the 21st Century, I can’t imagine anyone having a better understanding of how the region’s vast system operates and the challenges that it faces.

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Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said yesterday that she wants the city to control the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is currently run by the state. "The MTA chair is appointed by the governor. The mayor has a minority of the appointments on the MTA board. The majority of the new members are appointed by the governor and county leaders outside of our city," Quinn said. "This has resulted in an MTA that doesn't respond quickly enough to the needs of New Yorkers and the changing face of our city." Transportation advocates have criticized Quinn's plan. Quinn also said that by 2023 no New Yorker should have a commute of more than an hour in any direction.


Other Stories We're Following

Man Faces Hate Crime Charges in Brooklyn Burning Spree (NY 1)

New Yorkers Brace For Cuts to Unemployment (NY Times)

Cuomo's Re-election Machinery Already at Work (NY Times)

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