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Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 1:15 AM
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The Time To Build Is Now
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bronx, NYC
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LIRR East Side Access


First LIRR Tunnel To Grand Central Complete

July 17, 2008

The MTA’s East Side Access project, which will extend the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Station, reached a major milestone recently with the completion of a new Midtown tunnel. NY1’s Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

A brand-new tunnel has been completed 16 stories below Midtown Manhattan at Second Avenue and 63rd Street -- the first of two eventual Long Island Rail Road tunnels to Grand Central Station.

The tunnel, which goes west to Park Avenue and then curves south, was dug by hundreds of workers and an enormous mechanical device known as a tunnel-boring machine.

It will eventually form part of MTA’s expansion project, the East Side Access, which will build a new Long Island Rail Road terminal at Grand Central.

"It's basically completed the boring that it has to do to get to Grand Central, so it gives us now the opening space to start creating the cavern for the Grand Central part of the station,” said Joseph Trainor of MTA Capital Construction.

A second boring machine is also at work, carving out a parallel tunnel, though it has reached only as far as 48th Street.

Both machines cut right through Manhattan bedrock, about 120 feet below ground. The debris is then carted away using an elaborate series of conveyor belts all the way to Sunnyside, Queens.

The construction site can be wet and muddy, but to those above ground, the work of the boring machine has been imperceptible.

"It's 120 feet underground, and I don't think that anybody in the area has any idea that it's even made this progress," said Trainor.

"Most people don't have any perception it's there,” said tunnel engineer Edward Kennedy. “We passed within 12 feet underneath 53rd Street subway tunnels. And basically, nobody noticed."

Altogether, the East Side Access project is expected to cost $7.2 billion, including a large portion of federal funds. It's expected to be complete in 2015.

- Bobby Cuza
"I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps"
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