NYC transit work is out of sight
BY VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Sixteen stories below Grand Central Terminal, an army of workers is blasting through bedrock to create a new commuter rail concourse with more floor space than New Orleans' Superdome, just one of three audacious projects going on beneath New York City's streets to expand what's already the nation's biggest mass transit system.
But even with blasting and machinery grinding through the rock day and night, most New Yorkers are unaware of the construction or the eerie underworld of a massive, eight-story cavern, miles of tunnels and watery, gravel-filled pits.
In New York, they hauled out enough rocky debris from under Grand Central to cover Central Park almost a foot deep, says engineer Michael Horodniceanu, president of capital construction for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Together, the three projects will cost an estimated $15 billion. And when they're all completed, tentatively in 2019, they will bring subway and commuter rail service to vast, underserved stretches of the city, particularly the far East and West sides of Manhattan.
The most dramatic project will result in a sort of 21st century, underground Grand Central Terminal mirroring the century-old Grand Central Terminal above.
This so-called East Side Access will bring about 160,000 passengers a day from Long Island to a new station in Queens' Sunnyside neighborhood.
Also under construction is the Second Avenue Subway that eventually will serve Manhattan's far East Side, from Harlem to the island's southern tip.