Canadian consultant WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has been awarded a contract to prepare the initial designs of the AirTrain that will create the first direct rail link between New York City and LaGuardia airport.
PB will lead the planning of the project to create a rail line from the airport to Willets Point in the borough of Queens. The firm will be responsible for the line’s two terminal stations as well as the construction of the track itself. The contract is worth just under $15m.
Willets Point is an industrial area famous for its auto-repair shops and scrapyards, which gave it the nickname of "the Iron Triangle" and "New York’s toughest district".
It is presently the subject of a $4bn regeneration programme that includes a three-station complex to service the AirTrain as well as the New York subway and the Long Island Rail Road.
The win was historically appropriate, as PB traces its roots back to William Barclay Parsons, who helped to design and build New York’s first subway system.
The AirTrain is part of a $4bn makeover of La Guardia, which has become infamous for what former vice president Joe Biden called "third world" standards.
PB was also part of the LaGuardia Gateway Partners consortium that was selected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as the preferred bidder for a $3.6bn scheme to finance, design, build and operate the central terminal building at LaGuardia.
Image: Willets point when it was "New York’s toughest neighbourhood". The chop shops have all gone now (NY Law School)