MTA completes boring 13 miles of tunnels

Photo credit: CRAIG RUTTLE | Action in Albany will enable continuation of construction of the East Side Access tunnel to bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal (photo, Jan. 28, 2010)

By: JAMES T. MADORE, Newsday
July 25, 2012

The last of seven machines digging train tunnels that will eventually allow Long Island Rail Road commuters to ride directly to Grand Central Terminal has finished boring 13 miles of tunnels after five years of work. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the tunnel-boring machine, nicknamed Molina by a group of New York City elementary school students, came to a halt at 7:30 a.m. Monday 6 feet below the LIRR Main Line in Long Island City. 

Molina was the last machine the MTA had used to bore new tunnels for all of its megaprojects: East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway and the No. 7 subway extension to 11th Avenue. 

"It's done now," MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said of the tunnel-digging. "I think it's just another indication of how much progress the MTA is making on projects that will open up the city and the region to new development and new customer service and new benefits for everyone." 

The boring machines operated around the clock, cutting through the granite under Manhattan and soft earth in Queens, the MTA said in a statement. 

To complete the transit projects, construction crews need to excavate station caverns on the three rail lines, and construct platforms, stairways, mezzanines, elevators and escalators, the MTA said. The installation of track, electrical and signal systems, and communications equipment also is needed, as are climate-control systems and emergency access. 

MTA officials said in May that the East Side Access project will be completed by 2019; the Second Avenue line is scheduled to be completed in 2018, and the No. 7 subway extension in 2013.

LI Road Warriors Magazine is Here! Place an ad or find out more here.