Construction of 911 center in New York still year off

April 02, 2006|By NEWSDAY

Four and a half years after the World Trade Center disaster cast a spotlight on New York City's emergency readiness, a long-planned project to improve police, fire and medical communications through a 911 backup call center remains incomplete.

Formally known as Public Safety Answering Center 2, the new facility would handle all 911 calls should the main answering center crash because of an error or terrorist attack.

Plans for the delayed backup dispatch center drew attention after Sept. 11 as part of the larger communication system. Originally, Public Safety Answering Center 2 was due to be built next to police headquarters in lower Manhattan, but the events of 2001 changed that, with city officials deciding that the site is too close to both headquarters and to Metrotech, the Downtown Brooklyn headquarters for the 911 system.

There have been several 911 problems since then, including a shutdown for three hours in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in March 2004. It appears now that the answering center will be built in the Bronx.

The Bloomberg administration has appropriated $1.3 billion to revamp the 911 system. Authorities say construction of the second answering center could start as early as next year.

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