NEW YORK CITY – MTA Metro-North Railroad reports that Governor Hochul has announced the beginning of construction on the Metro-North Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement Project.
MTA Metro-North Railroad reports that Governor Hochul has announced the beginning of construction on the Metro-North Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement Project. The current viaduct is 130 years old and located in East Harlem. According to the report, “areas underneath have been cleared for the viaduct’s new foundations and new columns that will support the new structure.”
It’s a steel structure that has four Metro-North railroad tracks along Park Avenue with trains that travel along the Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven lines. These utilize the Viaduct to “access Harlem-125th Street Station and Grand Central Terminal, totaling 98% of Metro-North trains.”
Governor Hochul stated: “Carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers every day, the Park Avenue Viaduct is a critical piece of our transportation infrastructure. . . This replacement is essential to providing faster and safer service to our Metro-North customers, while minimizing impact to the local community.”
Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO stated: “The Park Avenue Viaduct is a critical link between Grand Central Terminal and every city, town and village that Metro-North Railroad services in the Bronx, north of New York City and in Connecticut. Brilliant engineers and builders left a structure that has lasted for 130 years, but we need to overhaul it to keep service safe for the 21st century.”
The first phase will include replacing major segments of the elevated steel structure and comes at a cost of $590 million, with almost $501 million coming from federal funds. The work will also include “replacing structures, tracks, power, communications, and signal system from East 115th Street to East 123rd Street.” In terms of a project timeline, construction activity, particularly substructure construction, will start Q3 2023 with the superstructure construction starting Q2 2024. The first phase is projected to conclude in 2026.
Overall, the project has been implemented to reduce impacts to the nearby community. In conjunction with the State Historic Preservation Office, the design of the project will include using a lighter color structure as well as “improved lighting and increased pedestrian safety under the viaduct.” In using more advanced designs and having access to improved materials, the new design will “reduce local noise and vibration levels as compared to existing levels.”
The MTA has also entered into a PLA, or Project Labor Agreement, with the BCTC, or Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. This will allow a working relationship between “union partners to improve labor efficiency and reduce costs on capital projects without compromising worker pay or safety.”
In working with the community, those who work on the project conducted pop-up sessions in East Harlem in an effort to provide project updates. The benefits of said project are as follows:
- The project maintains public safety and ensures continued Metro-North service.
- Moreover, there will be increased pedestrian safety under the viaduct.
- The project’s design offers reduced noise and vibration level impacts.
- A permanent art installation will be at 116th street.