Rockefeller University

New York, NY

Rockefeller University

Contract Value:
$26 Million

Project Dates:
2015 to 2017

  • Drilled Caissons
  • General Road and Heavy Highway Construction
  • Micropiles


Posillico Civil, Inc. is currently contracted with Turner Construction to excavate and install foundations for the new two-acre Riverside Building being constructed above the FDR Drive on the east side of Manhattan. The new building will span six lanes of traffic and a portion of the East River Esplanade from 64th Street to 68th Street. This will fill in the gap between the existing Rockefeller University Building and the Hospital for Special Surgeries Building, which are also over the FDR Drive. The new foundations are a combination of drilled caissons and pier foundations on rock. Work also includes the construction of two landlocked Mechanical Electrical Rooms on the campus 45 ft above the FDR roadway elevation behind a stone schist wall, which is over 100 years old. Also, 4,000 CY of rock/soil excavation and schist wall removal will be necessary in two locations on campus to begin construction of footings and walls of the new MER’s. The work is complicated by the logistics of working on the highway during reduced hour nighttime lane closures between the 45 ft high Schist wall and the East River Esplanade. In order to create work zones, Posillico has to create a roadway section on the East River Esplanade to shift traffic to the east to work on the west foundations and then shift traffic back to the west to work on the east side foundations.


This complex project was made difficult by the nature of working in a long and narrow work zone, which is landlocked both by the campus buildings as well as between the East River and the 45 ft high campus schist wall. Many issues were discovered as Posillico unearthed the 100 year-old campus that required immediate redesign and redeployment of resources to solve. Logistically there is no place to store material or equipment in the work zone. With both day and night shifts and working six days a week, it is imperative to schedule work and plan all operations to be fed from only the night shift. The only access to bring in materials and equipment is from reduced hour nightly lane closures on the FDR Drive. In addition to our nightly closures, all work has to be coordinated with two other major NYC contracts that require nightly lane closures within a mile on the FDR Drive. Advanced coordination of all projects and planning around each contractors critical paths allowed successful completion of all the projects concurrently.


Posillico assisted the General Contractor and Owner with developing ideas to minimize the number of necessary nighttime lane closures. This was done by:

  • Eliminating crane use for removing demolition debris. Cranes would require a double lane closure, which would reduce the allowable time to four hours a night. Instead, Posillico removed debris from the upper campus by utilizing demo chutes built with the vertical shield to maximize the time available to dump debris to the roadway.
  • Developing an alternate pile design to eliminate 20 piles on the esplanade, which saved two weeks on the schedule and minimized the potential for incidents, as the drilling was very close to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Utilizing compressors stored on barges along the seawall to reduce the congestion of equipment on the esplanade and also allowed the use of multiple drills in multiple shifts for continuous drilling.
  • Providing value engineering in the design of a pile cap on campus that eliminated almost 600 CY of rock excavation by replacing it with 14″ caisson supported piles caps.
  • Developing a Confined Space Program after an unexpected void was discovered between the schist wall and one of the mechanical electrical rooms. This helped protect and encapsulate the existing sewer facilities in the void with low strength concrete that allowed the rock demolition to begin without damaging the utilities below.