Controlled drill and blast operations to build the future subway station began on Jan. 18, 2011. In order to create the underground cavern out of the bedrock beneath 2nd Avenue, nearly 500 laborers worked 24 hours a day, five days a week, to excavate and remove a total of 183,000 cubic yards of rock, equivalent to the volume covered by 500 city avenue blocks 10 feet high, or more than half the Empire State Building by volume.
The contractor, SSK Constructors (a joint venture of Schiavone, Shea and Kiewit) will continue to waterproof and install the steel reinforced concrete lining of the underground station cavern and tunnels. Disassembly of the muck house at 72nd Street will occur this spring and the muck house at 69th Street will be removed by fall. The follow-on finishes contract, which will complete the mezzanine and platforms, station entrances, ancillary buildings and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for the station, was awarded to Judlau Contracting on Feb.14, 2013.
The $4.45-billion project to extend the Q Line along Second Avenue is the largest expansion of the subway system in generations. The subway line will have new stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street and is expected to open for service in December 2016. The future 72nd Street Station will have three new entrances, including two escalator entrances at 69th Street and 72nd Street containing, 11 escalators and five street-level elevators at the southeast corner of 72nd Street and Second Avenue.