Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Whose bright idea? (Boondoggle: Changing the lightbulbs at NJ’s new Frank Lautenberg Station)
The Bergen Record ^ | Thursday, April 13, 2006 | JOHN CICHOWSKI

Posted on 04/13/2006 8:05:30 AM PDT by dead

What does it take to change light bulbs on the 75-foot rotunda ceiling of the massive Secaucus rail station?

First, crack a hole in the roof big enough to drive a crane through. Then, hoist a crane onto the roof using, well, another crane. Build a ramp, widen a doorway and protect the interior floor with some plywood.

Then you can start thinking about unscrewing a light bulb.

The $700 million Secaucus Junction station was built with no easy way to change the bulbs that surround the rotunda skylight. And as more and more lights have grown dim over the past several months, bringing in a crane was the only solution.

Why?

Mark Sheeleigh of Manhattan-based Brennan Beer Gorman, the architecture firm that designed the station, had a ready answer.

"We were going for something dramatic, similar to the waiting areas in old stations, like Hoboken," he said, when asked about other solutions such as scaffolding or catwalks. "Scaffolding might block the skylight."

The cost of the operation will be covered under NJ Transit's maintenance contract with Control Building Services of Secaucus, agency spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett said.

A spokesman for Control could not provide a total figure, but crane rental alone will likely top $10,000. Then manpower, carpenter work and the bulbs themselves -- 608 of them -- must be accounted for.

Rail commuters were dumbstruck when they learned of the Secaucus high-wire act.

"Any large facility, like a sports arena or a convention hall, builds in simple, inexpensive ways of performing routine maintenance, but not this one, I guess," said Mahwah's Gene Corrado, who passes through the station twice a day.

Corrado still can't understand why NJ Transit never built a parking lot near the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station at Secaucus Junction. Others, like commuter James Donovan, are still angry about seldom-used New Jersey Turnpike exit 15X, which opened near the station last year.

"This is the most ridiculous way to change a light bulb that I've ever heard," said Donovan, of Glen Rock. "Are these the same people who built the exit ramp to nowhere?"

But NJ Transit and Control dismissed any notion that the cost or work involved was extreme.

"Architects design these beautiful buildings and they don't think about how you're going to maintain them," said Control's district manager, Peter Manetti. "But it's just high. It's something that can be done."

"It's standard operating procedure," insisted Tom Gallo, the station's operations manager. "It's no different from the kind of maintenance they do at malls."

The operation began in Tuesday's early morning hours, but it's not over yet.

"It'll take us a couple of weeks," said Vito Fragola, Control's site manager, when interviewed on the rotunda floor early Tuesday morning.

Here's how it was done:

First, a large crane was rented to hoist a smaller crane, known as a Denka Lift, onto the roof of the station, Gallo said. The lift was rolled though a hole cut in the roof onto a makeshift ramp and into a storage room. A doorway was cut out of a wall to give the crane access to the corridor that leads to the rotunda.

Plywood was positioned to protect the stone floor while the crane moved some 200 yards down the corridor. It was anchored to the rotunda floor, where a worker climbed inside a bucket and was hoisted to the ceiling.

The cost to rent a Denka Lift exceeds $4,000 a week, according to United Rental of Ridgefield Park, which supplied the interior crane. A spokesman for Dun-Rite, a heavy-equipment rental firm in the Bronx, would not provide figures for the cost to lease the larger crane.

United Rental salesman Brian Law said it was known from the start that replacing the bulbs would be a problem.

"We tried to get NJ Transit to put the cost of a lift into the construction contract, but they weren't interested at the time," he said.

Cathedral ceilings were common in old-fashioned rail centers, like the Hoboken station, said Sheeleigh, and they are common today in malls and office parks. With its impressive 2,000-square-foot skylight at the top of the rotunda, the interior of the 900-foot-long rail station resembles a mall or office building in some ways.

Although skylights are impressive, architects agree that one of their disadvantages -- besides the fact that they often leak and are difficult to clean -- is that the glass on the ceiling limits the amount of surface space available to install electric lighting.

Unless lights are attached to hydraulics that can lower them to the floor, or they're accessible via built-in scaffolding, replacing them one at a time can be impractical, said Sheeleigh and Bassett Hackett.

"We don't replace them as they burn out," said Bassett Hackett, the NJ Transit spokeswoman. "We usually replace a group of them, and we coordinate this operation with other uses for the crane, such as cleaning."

Asked when the lights had last been replaced, Gallo said it had been about two years. Actually, this week is the first time. The station opened 28 months ago and the lights have been slowly burning out since then.

John Cichowski, The Record's Road Warrior, can be e-mailed at: cichowski@northjersey.com

6916524


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: boondoggle; fuhgeddaboudit; joisey; lautenberg; secaucus; whiteelephant
"It's standard operating procedure," insisted Tom Gallo, the station's operations manager. "It's no different from the kind of maintenance they do at malls."

Oh yeah, they cut holes in the ceilings of malls all the time, and rent a crane to lower another crane to change the light bulbs every few months. And the taxpayers pay for it too. I’m pretty sure.

An inefficient, outrageously expensive, boondoggle is a fitting tribute to that corrupt reanimated corpse of a Senator. No doubt his handler Torricelli gets a cut of the crane rental fees and the carpentry work. You just hand him the brown paper bag of cash and begin sawing.

1 posted on 04/13/2006 8:05:33 AM PDT by dead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: dead

2 posted on 04/13/2006 8:08:23 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead

The Carpenters union, the Electricians union, AND the Crane Operators union all got a piece of this one.


3 posted on 04/13/2006 8:08:45 AM PDT by Lekker 1 ("Computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes..." - Popular Mechanics, March 1949)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead

Of course, no one thought about a cherry picker.


4 posted on 04/13/2006 8:10:26 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead
Excuse me? The Frank Lautenberg Station?


5 posted on 04/13/2006 8:11:32 AM PDT by Crispus Attucks Patriot (The first to give his life for your liberty was a Black man!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead

Why does he have a rail station named after him?


6 posted on 04/13/2006 8:12:47 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead
An inefficient, outrageously expensive, boondoggle is a fitting tribute to that corrupt reanimated corpse of a Senator

That was so good I hope you don't mind me highlighting it!!

7 posted on 04/13/2006 8:15:35 AM PDT by Neverforget01 (Proud enemy of the drive-by-media)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead
LOL! It figures! I have been driving past the Lautenberg Rail Station for the past 9 years. It's has only been within the past year that they have constructed a ramp off the Turnpike to get to it! BTW the cost to build the rail station was 400 million! What a boondoggle!
8 posted on 04/13/2006 8:16:13 AM PDT by alice_in_bubbaland (No Amnesty for Law Breaking Illegals!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert
Because he died tragically a couple years back. They didn't want to pay for his grave, so they shipped his corpse off to the Senate and named the station after him.

Don't worry, everybody that had to be paid got paid. That's how its done. Don't ask questions.

9 posted on 04/13/2006 8:17:35 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
"Architects design these beautiful buildings and they don't think about how you're going to maintain them," said Control's district manager, Peter Manetti.

That's ridiculous. Only a bureaucrat could make such an incredibly stupid utterance. (Unless, of course, we're talking about architechs who are government employees. In that case, he may possibly be correct.)

10 posted on 04/13/2006 8:19:52 AM PDT by Bob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: alice_in_bubbaland
Yeah, apparently they built a ramp off the turnpike so you can easily drive to the rail station, and then didn't provide any public parking at the station.

"Parking?! What the f*#k for?! I got a limo!"
- Bob Torricelli

11 posted on 04/13/2006 8:21:34 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: dead

Sooooo typical of taxpayer-financed government projects: they don't care about maintenance costs down the road, much less if their design is prone to be faulty (skylights are ALWAYS disasters!).


12 posted on 04/13/2006 8:21:55 AM PDT by D-Chivas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead
Calling Dr. John Robinson! Calling Dr. John Robinson!


13 posted on 04/13/2006 8:22:43 AM PDT by sittnick (There is no salvation in politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

14 posted on 04/13/2006 8:26:55 AM PDT by motzman (Dubya needs a "Bullhorn Moment" regarding illegal immigration)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: dead
What does it take to change light bulbs on the 75-foot rotunda ceiling of the massive Secaucus rail station?...

First, a large crane was rented to hoist a smaller crane, known as a Denka Lift, onto the roof of the station, Gallo said. The lift was rolled though a hole cut in the roof onto a makeshift ramp and into a storage room. A doorway was cut out of a wall to give the crane access to the corridor that leads to the rotunda.


Ok, so according to Denka Lift's site,

"This amazing aerial lift accesses heights of up to 91 feet, yet passes through a 36 inch wide door (Atrium Series). The 91 foot model and the 81 foot model weigh 5650 pounds and 4950 pounds respectively, making it the lightest weight aerial lift in the world in its height range."

So why is it they couldn't get it into the building other than through the roof? Worse case, if there wasn't a door, how about via the train tracks?

Or what about taking the machine apart and reassembling it inside?
15 posted on 04/13/2006 8:28:26 AM PDT by CertainInalienableRights
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CertainInalienableRights
I can't remember how to post a pic (and its a large one) but here's a layout of the station:

http://www.teterboro-online.com/images/trans/sts/map.jpg
16 posted on 04/13/2006 8:30:36 AM PDT by CertainInalienableRights
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: All

Sounds like good "Training".


17 posted on 04/13/2006 8:34:41 AM PDT by bennowens
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

A relatively busy day at the Secaucus station.

There is no parking lot for this station, and NJ Transit refuses to build one. Without a parking lot, there is no way for people to get to the train station, except by train. But once they are on the train, who needs a train station?

18 posted on 04/13/2006 8:36:41 AM PDT by bondjamesbond (RICE 2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: CertainInalienableRights
"what about taking the machine apart and reassembling it inside."

Naw, makes too much sense.

19 posted on 04/13/2006 9:11:01 AM PDT by holyscroller (A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him to the left)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: dead
"Architects design these beautiful buildings and they don't think about how you're going to maintain them," said Control's district manager, Peter Manetti.

No Peter, that's exactly what architects are suppose to think about and plan for, that's what we pay them for.

20 posted on 04/13/2006 9:16:33 AM PDT by RJL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert

"Why does he have a rail station named after him?"

Because he has railroaded conservatives in the state during his terms of election . BTW the bulbs are dim because HE is a dimwit !!


21 posted on 04/13/2006 9:24:02 AM PDT by Renegade
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: dead

How did they originally install the fixtures and bulbs?
Sounds like someone was bored and the unions wanted a payoff.


22 posted on 04/13/2006 9:49:21 AM PDT by jjjf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fedora; Fred Nerks; ...
from April 2006, an amusement:
First, crack a hole in the roof big enough to drive a crane through. Then, hoist a crane onto the roof using, well, another crane. Build a ramp, widen a doorway and protect the interior floor with some plywood. Then you can start thinking about unscrewing a light bulb. The $700 million Secaucus Junction station was built with no easy way to change the bulbs that surround the rotunda skylight... "Any large facility, like a sports arena or a convention hall, builds in simple, inexpensive ways of performing routine maintenance, but not this one, I guess," said Mahwah's Gene Corrado, who passes through the station twice a day... "Architects design these beautiful buildings and they don't think about how you're going to maintain them," said Control's district manager, Peter Manetti. "But it's just high. It's something that can be done." "It's standard operating procedure," insisted Tom Gallo, the station's operations manager. "It's no different from the kind of maintenance they do at malls." ... "It'll take us a couple of weeks," said Vito Fragola, Control's site manager, when interviewed on the rotunda floor early Tuesday morning... Asked when the lights had last been replaced, Gallo said it had been about two years. Actually, this week is the first time. The station opened 28 months ago and the lights have been slowly burning out since then.

23 posted on 05/26/2007 12:51:08 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated May 26, 2007.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CertainInalienableRights; SunkenCiv; Coleus; jocon307; Alberta's Child; Pharmboy; Calpernia; ...
I can't remember how to post a pic (and its a large one) but here's a layout of the station:

Use a search engine to find the command for open a link in a new window.

Copy and save it so it's convenient. Just enter the URL between the last quotation marks and label the link appropriately, e.g. Frank J. Lautenberg Train Station. That's an easy way to link oversize pics without messing threads up and distorting the comments, yours and everone else on the thread.

Frank J. Lautenberg Train Station

Maybe the folks in New Jersey can use the RICO Act to get rid of the dems?

24 posted on 05/26/2007 2:05:51 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

:’)


25 posted on 05/26/2007 6:32:41 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated May 26, 2007.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: dead

Idiot architects.


26 posted on 05/26/2007 6:34:05 PM PDT by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bondjamesbond

Oh, so it was a political “gift”. A “grift”. The architects ... maybe they are political grease monkeys, then.


27 posted on 05/26/2007 6:35:50 PM PDT by bvw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
Lefties just love spending OPM.




None of this would be happening if Frank Lautenberg were alive today.

28 posted on 05/26/2007 6:39:59 PM PDT by Petronski (Fred!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: fieldmarshaldj

Just to give you an idea as to how things are still done up here...


29 posted on 05/26/2007 6:59:08 PM PDT by Clemenza (Rudy Giuliani, like Pesto and Seattle, belongs in the scrap heap of '90s Culture)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: dead
Why would anything with the name of Frank Lautenberg associated with it want the light of day shone upon it?

-PJ

30 posted on 05/26/2007 7:02:46 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Petronski

Is that a joke? Physically he’s still alive, the laut.


31 posted on 05/26/2007 7:27:17 PM PDT by Lx (Do you like it, do you like it. Scott? I call it Mr. and Mrs. Tennerman chili.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Lx
Physically he’s still alive, the laut.

I'm gonna need proof.

32 posted on 05/26/2007 7:50:45 PM PDT by Petronski (Fred!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Petronski

Weekend at Lauties.


33 posted on 05/26/2007 7:52:53 PM PDT by Lx (Do you like it, do you like it. Scott? I call it Mr. and Mrs. Tennerman chili.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Clemenza

Do I gotta say it ?

34 posted on 05/26/2007 8:06:09 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Would you vote for President a guy who married his cousin? Me, neither. Accept no RINOs. Fred in '08)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: dead

It is fitting that badly designed boondoggle govt buildings are named after our most lousy elected policians.


35 posted on 05/26/2007 11:51:49 PM PDT by WOSG (Stop Illegal Immigration. Call your Senator today. Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CertainInalienableRights

Build hooks into the ceiling, to which a pulley can be attached. Use cable slung over pulley to hoist worker to change bulb. Who needs a stinkin’ crane?


36 posted on 05/26/2007 11:58:45 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: dead
Two words:

Scissor lift.

37 posted on 05/27/2007 12:01:49 AM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead
I need a pro to change my kitchen light when it burns out. Its a vaulted ceiling with no way to reach it safely!

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

38 posted on 05/27/2007 12:03:01 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nuconvert
Why does he have a rail station named after him?

Because everything else is already named after Senator "Sheets" Byrd?
39 posted on 05/27/2007 12:17:06 AM PDT by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: IncPen; BartMan1

ping


40 posted on 05/27/2007 12:25:21 AM PDT by Nailbiter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: dead

Of course this sounds preposterous. A crane to change a bulb? How about a lift? Or a very tall ladder? I still don’t know why scaffolding wouldn’t work. Boondoogle indeed.

But, all this cutting of the roof and doorways... wouldn’t it simply be easier to dis-assemble a crane and re-assemble it inside the station, than to drop one in through the roof and then cut through a doorway?

I work at a building which has a 28 ft warehouse. We use a forklift to change the bulbs. How high is this ceiling?

This makes so little sense, if it was privately owned you’d bet the owner would figure out a way to change the bulbs for 1/100th the cost or less.


41 posted on 05/27/2007 12:32:29 AM PDT by monkeyshine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CertainInalienableRights

Yes exactly. Rail it in was another one of my thoughts. This sounds just plain stupid. This is an example why government should not be involved in these things. All these cash-strapped governments should sell off these assets.


42 posted on 05/27/2007 12:34:30 AM PDT by monkeyshine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop
I need a pro to change my kitchen light when it burns out. Its a vaulted ceiling with no way to reach it safely!

What about using this?

43 posted on 05/27/2007 7:42:34 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: devolve; dead

Lol, this all sounds like a Texas Aggie joke - how many Aggies does it take to change a light bulb??


44 posted on 05/27/2007 7:45:56 PM PDT by potlatch (MIZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MIKAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dead

I hope they used long-life bulbs.


45 posted on 05/27/2007 7:55:11 PM PDT by granite ("We dare not tempt them with weakness" - JFK)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: potlatch

.

New Jersey is not a destination

Mad Magazine cover story of yore:

“I got lost in Patterson New Jersey!”

Sam Colt’s first maufacturing venture with local NJ bankers backing him started in Patterson, NJ

After they ripped Sam off he tried Whitney in Whitneyville, CT

A year of that mess and Sam set up his own plant in Hartford, CT


46 posted on 05/27/2007 8:12:36 PM PDT by devolve ( _ignore_tax_the_illegal_alien_way?_ _SELLING_OUT_AMERICA?_)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: dead
Couldn't they just train illegal aliens to stand on each other's shoulders and build a pyramid until it got tall enough to reach the bulbs?

That sounds like a job Americans don't want.

47 posted on 05/27/2007 8:17:43 PM PDT by Bernard (You can't fix stupid. Stop trying.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: devolve

Sounds like too many ‘cooks in the kitchen’ in New Jersey to get things done right judging from other comments in the article.

Interesting about Colt, you would know all about that!


48 posted on 05/27/2007 8:19:34 PM PDT by potlatch (MIZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MIKAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: potlatch

Sounds like those architects and engineers could have worked on designing the WTC floor trusses in NYC

Light, cheap, weak under heat, max profits, each fastened by a total only 3 small Grade 8 bolts

- 1 small bolt at one end

- 2 small bolts at the other end

Each wheel on your family vehicle is attached by five Grade 8 or stronger bolts

But what do I know......


49 posted on 05/27/2007 8:31:19 PM PDT by devolve ( _ignore_tax_the_illegal_alien_way?_ _SELLING_OUT_AMERICA?_)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: devolve

[But what do I know......]

snicker!


50 posted on 05/27/2007 8:36:23 PM PDT by potlatch (MIZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MIKAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_MAZARU_ooo_‹(•¿•)›_ooo_))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson