Management & Operations

MTA awards contracts for East Side Access Manhattan tunnels, caverns

Posted on April 16, 2014

Photo: MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
Photo: MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded two contracts valued at $627.79 million to contractors who will line more than 10,000 linear feet of newly excavated tunnels with permanent structural concrete walls and install complex communications systems in Grand Central Terminal’s future Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) concourse.

“The work to be performed through these contracts will significantly advance East Side Access, the most complex and largest transportation infrastructure project underway in North America,” said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction. “Tunnels that have been drilled through Manhattan bedrock will be waterproofed and lined with concrete and readied for tracks. A cavern that is presently a raw concrete space will be activated with advanced communications networks that will be used by tens of thousands of people each day."

Terminal Western Cavern waterproofing work. Photos: MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
Terminal Western Cavern waterproofing work. Photos: MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
A contract worth $333.59 million, with options leading to a total of $550.4 million, has been awarded to Tutor Perini Corp. to complete communications systems that will be used by the public and employees in the future LIRR concourse and infrastructure support systems needed to make the space usable by the public.

The communications systems including telephone, two-way radio, public address, digital signage and fire detection. The infrastructure support systems include tunnel ventilation, tunnel drainage, tunnel lighting, plumbing and fire protection.

A contract valued at $294.2 million has been awarded to Frontier-Kemper Constructors to build permanent structural concrete lining, including embedded mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, on the newly excavated tunnels north of Grand Central Terminal, running from 50th Street and Park Avenue to 63rd Street and Second Avenue.

The company will also rehabilitate the segment of the 63rd Street Tunnel under the East River that will be used by LIRR trains, which was completed in the early 1970s. And the firm will complete work on the underground portions of two facilities, located at 50th Street and 55th Street, that will ventilate the tunnels and Cavern which will house the new LIRR station at Grand Central. The above-ground portion of the 50th Street ventilation facility has recently been completed.

Blasting has recently been completed underneath the 55th Street ventilation facility, as shown in this MTA video, here.

The East Side Access project will bring trains from all 11 branches of the Long Island Rail Road into a new concourse being built beneath Grand Central Terminal. The new connection will increase the LIRR’s capacity into Manhattan, and dramatically shorten travel time for Long Island and eastern Queens commuters traveling to the east side of Manhattan. Each cavern will contain four tracks, an upper and lower level platform, and a mezzanine.

A time-lapse video released today showing recent work on the Queens side of the project:

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