Top Five Challenges in the Final 18 Months of Construction for Second Avenue Subway
NEW YORK—Today Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Council Member Dan Garodnick (District 4), Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5), New York State Democratic Committee Vice Chair Trudy L. Mason, and representatives from Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright issued a list of the top five challenges that could delay completion of phase 1 of the 2nd Avenue Subway.
The top five challenges – in reverse order of concern – are as follows:
5. The 69th Street Entrance to the 72nd Street Entrance
4. Installation of Tracks
3. Electrical Work
2. Keeping the Project on Budget
1. The 86th Street Entrance
“While the construction is still on schedule, I am concerned that these 5 challenges could pose serious problems for completing the Second Avenue Subway as scheduled in December 2016,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “When it comes to construction time is money, and we can’t be wasting either. The completion of Phase 1 is of the upmost importance for my constituents and I was proud to help provide $1.3 billion in federal funding for the project, but we need to continue to monitor construction to help keep the momentum going.”
"The Second Avenue Subway is almost here -- but not quite. We need to remain vigilant to ensure it stays on schedule with no detours," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "Congresswoman Maloney has identified several areas of concern, and we are counting on the MTA to address them."
"We are making strong progress towards the completion of the Second Avenue Subway, and to get it done on time, we will need city, state and federal leadership. Thanks to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her strong efforts on the issue. I look forward to the day that the Second Avenue Subway opens to serve the thousands of New Yorkers who pass through the East Side each day," said Council Member Ben Kallos.
“As we count down the final days to the opening of the Second Avenue Subway, it's more important than ever to be vigilant about keeping this project on track,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “Congresswoman Maloney's leadership has been critical in maintaining the construction momentum and I look forward to working with her, the MTA, and other local elected officials to face these final challenges on the path to a historic new subway line.”
In the June 22, 2015 MTACC Quarterly Progress Report to the Capitol Program Oversight Committee, the MTA pointed out issues of concern and explained how it plans to mitigate the problems. Maloney drew from the report in creating her list of top five challenges. The 69th Street Entrance to the 72nd Street Entrance was moved from a storefront at 301 E. 69th Street to the sidewalk because technical issues could not be resolved. As a result, construction of the entrance was delayed. The entrance must be completed by September 2016. Installation of Tracks was delayed but seems to be back on trick. It is no longer on the SAS Primary Critical Path, meaning that it probably will not push the project off its target completion date, but it still needs to be watched. The trackwork must be finished by March 2016. Electrical work – Facility power energization must be finished at all new stations in order to support planned testing and commissioning activities. This must be done by December 2015 – the earliest milestone of all of these critical challenges. If this is not finished on time, it will delay other critical systems work needed to be done in order for the stations to be up and running by December 2016. Keeping the Project on Budget – work change orders and tight scheduling are pushing costs higher. Instead of the current $35 million per month, the cost could rise to as much as $45 million per month, seriously eating into the planned budget contingency. Time is money and the longer the project stretches out, the more expensive it will become. That makes timely completion critical. The 86th Street Entrance is badly behind schedule and could impact revenue service. Of all the challenges, this is the only one currently said to have the potential to impact revenue service. The MTA has asked the contractor to increase manpower, work extended hours, double shifts and work weekends in order to get back on schedule. This must be completed by August 2016.
In November 2007, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the MTA signed a full-funding grant agreement (FFGA) for the Second Avenue Subway, which will provide $1.3 billion in federal funds to build the subway’s first leg (full-funding grant agreements are commitments by the federal government to provide a total amount of funding, delivered in installments, over the life of a project). Recently the FFGA was amended to require the MTA to complete the project by February 2018. The MTA maintains that it will finish the project by December 2016.
The full-length Second Avenue Subway will be an 8 ½ mile two-track line beginning at 125th street and ending in Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. The subway’s first segment will include stops at 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets, and tunnels from 99th to 62nd Streets. At 63rd Street, the new subway line will link onto the existing Q-line tracks, providing a one-seat ride from the Upper East Side to Times Square, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Construction of the full-length subway has been divided into four phases. Once completed, the first subway phase will carry more than 200,000 riders each day and relieve massive congestion on the most overcrowded subway routes in the nation: the 4, 5, and 6 Lexington Avenue IRT trains on Manhattan’s East Side.
The Second Avenue Subway project has created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages, and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity. In the mid-1990s, Rep. Maloney began a campaign to resuscitate the Second Avenue Subway after the project had lain dormant for decades, and she has worked to include funding for the Second Avenue Subway in appropriations bills. All of the funding called for under the FFGA has been appropriated. The subway project, as planned, would run primarily through the 12th Congressional District, which Maloney represents.
Photo Caption (L-R): Trudy L. Mason, Council Member Ben Kallos, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Council Member Dan Garodnick