- A tunnel as part of New York City’s East Side Access, a commuter rail project that will connect an estimated 160,000 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) passengers to Grand Central Terminal starting in 2022, will end up costing $1 million per foot, the project's chief engineer said Wednesday. The cost of the total project is now at $10.2 billion, more than twice the original estimate.
- The new LIRR station, at 350,000 square feet, will cover five city blocks and reach 14 stories deep under Grand Central, with four platforms serving eight tracks on two levels. The terminal will also feature a retail and dining concourse, reported the Times.
- The project, under construction since 2007, is the largest and most expensive transit project in the U.S., according to The Verge, as well as one of the most over-budget and behind-schedule.
The project is a "game changer" for LIRR commuters who must travel to the west side of Manhattan to Penn Station and then backtrack through the city via subway, Michael Horodniceanu, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s chief engineer and head of capital projects, told the Seattle Times.
Horodniceanu said delays have been unavoidable, as construction has to continue without disturbing current operations at Grand Central.
"We’re doing it under very strict rules of not disturbing the daily traffic of Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit — trust me, not an easy thing to do," Horodniceanu told the Seattle Times. "It’s a very tricky thing."
In one case, Horodniceanu said the ground in certain areas of the excavation had to be frozen so that workers could remove dirt and build steel supports. "This was a very risky operation. We had to make sure it was done properly," he said.
In addition, Horodniceanu attributed some cost overruns to New York prices, including wages, The Verge reported. "We’re actually paying our people well. I’m talking about the labor," he said. "And that’s reflected into the cost."