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mark1447

MTA Carves New LIRR Tunnel Connecting Grand Central to Queens

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Manhattan and Queens have never been closer.

 

The MTA broke down a final concrete wall Thursday to create a new Long Island Railroad tunnel between Grand Central Terminal and Sunnyside, Queens.

 

The tunnel is part of the MTA's $8.24 billion East Side Access project, scheduled to finish in 2019. The ambitious plan features a new LIRR terminal beneath Grand Central, shortening commutes for thousands of riders and marking the first expansion of the railroad in more then a century.

 

"For the first time since the East Side Access project began, there is now a continuous path through [a] newly built tunnel from Queens to the East Side of Manhattan," MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement Thursday.

 

"This is the path Long Island Rail Road trains will follow when this project is completed."

 

The 3.5-mile tunnel, which measures 22 feet in diameter, runs from Sunnyside Yard in Queens to the new LIRR terminal at 37th Street and Park Avenue, 12 stories below Grand Central, the MTA said.

 

Workers digging the tunnel from both sides met Thursday beneath Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, a particularly tricky area because of the many nearby subway lines, the MTA said.

 

The MTA had to build a new foundation to support the subway lines during construction and also had to freeze the area's soft dirt to make it easier to control, said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.

 

"This is the most complicated and challenging 120 feet of tunnel we’ve built on any of our construction megaprojects," Horodniceanu said in a statement.

 

Source + Photo Slide: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/long-island-city/mta-carves-new-lirr-tunnel-connecting-grand-central-queens#ixzz274XSdO7p

 

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This is a very welcoming sign, as long as the "new" Grand Central Terminal LIRR Station can last long and will not and never suffer the same fate of the South Ferry (1), I'll wait til' 2019 assuming the Mayans are wrong.

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This is a very welcoming sign, as long as the "new" Grand Central Terminal LIRR Station can last long and will not and never suffer the same fate of the South Ferry (1), I'll wait til' 2019 assuming the Mayans are wrong.

 

 

Really? You people act like it caved in. <_<

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This is a very welcoming sign, as long as the "new" Grand Central Terminal LIRR Station can last long and will not and never suffer the same fate of the South Ferry (1), I'll wait til' 2019 assuming the Mayans are wrong.

 

 

If midtown has the same topography as Lower Manhattan (200 feet away from New York Bay with a notoriously shallow water table) then yes it will suffer the same reparable fate as South Ferry.

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Really? You people act like it caved in. <_<

 

If midtown has the same topography as Lower Manhattan (200 feet away from New York Bay with a notoriously shallow water table) then yes it will suffer the same reparable fate as South Ferry.

 

 

I was just sayin' no need to meltdown, flame or anything, there could be storm-water run-off, sewage or water main breaks and other stuff that could happen, so hope this station is constructed as weather proof as possible.

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This is the most suitable existing topic I could find on ESA without starting a new one, so here goes:

It's been just short of five months since we last had a look into the deep caverns of the MTA's massive East Side Access project, but on Tuesday the MTA uploaded a small set of photos onto its Flickr Streamshowing off some of the work that's taking place deep underground.

The set of photos is fairly small, only nine shots of the caverns and none of the concourse, but we'll take what we can get. For the most part, all major excavation on the project has been finished, so what they've been doing lately seems to be smoothing all the caverns and tunnels out and beginning to line the tunnels with insulation and stuff like that. It would be nice to see steel rails and signals going in downstairs and fully tiled concourses upstairs in this photo update, but I think we're still a good few years away from seeing that!

Two other recent photo uploads by the MTA from June and February can be used to compare how progress is coming along. There are even more photos on the MTA's Flickr Stream of past updates, but you'll have to do some sifting to get all of them.

Here are some of the highlights from the photo set, with my expanded captions (captions appear <i>below</i> photos).  All photos are credit Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3744/10692144034_4254322b27_o.jpg
In this photo we see what is likely one of the crossover caverns.  A pair of crossover switches would be placed in this opening here before the tracks continued off in their independent tunnels.  Drilling two smaller tunnels instead of one larger one is easier since you can have one smaller tunnel-boring machine make the cutouts for both tunnels.  Crews can go back and excavate this crossover cavern or other connecting passageways afterwards.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/10692097665_a036cfaa48_o.jpg
This image is at a tough angle, but it looks like this shot was taken from inside one of the tunnels to Queens (where Queens would be behind the photographer) and where the tracks 1 and 2 split into two levels.  You can see one of the tubes descends lower than the other one if you look ahead at the split.  This opening would house the switches that would send trains to either the upper level or the lower level platforms in the main caverns.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2853/10692336543_7e3dc52981_o.jpg
This photo looks like it was taken inside one of the Manhattan-side Queens tunnels.  One side of this tunnel would connect the the 63rd Street tunnel under the river while the other side would lead into the openings seen above which house the crossover and upper/lower level split switches.  In this photo we can see the LIRR already has the insulation and construction of other initial structures underway here.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2858/10692097695_7d5c8a2874_o.jpg
This is a photo of the huge station cavern that was excavated under Grand Central.  Eventually two platforms and four tracks will be built inside this cavern.  Here, you can see workers finishing out the walls as excavation often doesn't leave the smoothest final product.  Note the workers climbing up the ramp in the bottom of the photo for scale.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5541/10692336413_3732131799_o.jpg
View from the top of the caverns looking down at some workers.
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3700/10692099635_b51843b941_o.jpg
Here's a broader view of one of the station caverns.  Eventually two platforms and four tracks will fit in here.  This cavern appears more finished than the photo above which might be a photo of the second cavern which is to the right of this (there are two huge station cavers like this, each will house two platforms on top of each other and four tracks).
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7416/10692338593_2a6fde3361_o.jpg
Here's another view inside the huge station cavern.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2869/10692147306_2103bdf95b_o.jpg
This appears to be our first look inside what will eventually become the lower LIRR concourse.  The new station will consist of two main passenger concourses, one on Grand Central's current lower level where the former Madison Avenue Yard sat and one at the very bottom of the escalators that sits in between the station caverns.  Picture two of the huge station caverns above to either side of this concourse.  The opening straight ahead in the picture likely leads around the bend to one of the large escalator banks up to the upper LIRR concourse.

Posted on Thursday, November 07, 2013 2 Comments:
See More Posts About: Capital Construction, East Side Access, News

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