MTA Pushes Ahead With $7.7B East Harlem Subway Extension

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects to launch construction on Phase 2 of its Second Avenue subway line into Manhattan's East Harlem segment in 2024, assuming federal funding is allocated, according to Charles Gary, MTA’s deputy general counsel.

This phase of the four-phase plan would see the MTA’s Second Avenue line extended 1.76 miles from 96th to 125th streets, with stations at 106th, 116th, and 125th streets, an ENR report said. According to Federal Transit Administration data, the entire capital cost is anticipated to be $7.7 billion.

Gary, appearing at an eminent domain public hearing on March 15, described the MTA’s proposal for this portion of the project. According to him, the construction of this phase would be divided into four contracts. According to records, the first contract would include early works including utility relocation. The MTA aims to solicit that work over the next three months, with a cost estimate of $25 million to $100 million.

The MTA also plans to issue a design-build contract for tunnel boring and cavern work this year. The second Phase 2 contract, according to Gary, will entail tunnel boring machine work between 115th and 125th streets, as well as west along 125th to a point between Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. 

The contract includes calls for the restoration and conversion of an existing tunnel for the 116th Street station, as well as cavern mining for the 125th Street station.

The third contract’s scope would involve cut and cover construction of the 106th Street station structure as well as connections for two tunnel portions built as part of an unfinished 1970s project, as well as station entrances and links to two auxiliary structures, Gary said. 

The final contract would include the construction of five ancillary buildings, station entrances, station and tunnel fit-out, MEP work, architectural finishes, and track and signal system installation.

A joint venture of WSP and STV have collaborated on engineering and design for Phase 2, ENR reported. 

The Federal Transit Administration will cover 49% of the project’s cost, or around $3.4 billion, under the proposed financial plan. President Joe Biden’s budget request for 2024 calls for $496.8 million for the project in the coming fiscal year. In a statement on financing proposals for this and 17 other significant transit projects, FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez stated that every federal dollar will result in $5 or more of economic gain.

The current cost estimate is $558 million higher than the MTA’s last estimate in November 2019, according to FTA officials, due to an increase in unallocated contingency for project risks. The first phase, which opened in early 2017, cost $4.5 billion.