The Metropolitan Transit Authority has released new photos of construction on the first phase of New York’s Second Avenue Subway, a more than $4 billion project that will run new tunnels between 63rd Street and 96th Street on the East side and is expected to be complete in 2016.
Although blasting and dust from the construction has ruffled the feathers of many Upper East Side residents, it looks like MTA workers are making some serious headway.
The entire line, which will be built in four phases, will run from 125th Street to the Financial District.
Second Avenue Subway from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA New York City Transit have begun the final planning and environmental analysis for a full-length Second Avenue Subway, from 125th Street to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.
The Second Avenue Subway will reduce overcrowding and delays on the Lexington Avenue Line, improving travel for both city and suburban commuters, and improving access to mass transit for residents of the far East Side of Manhattan.
In 1972, Governor Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsey broke ground for the Second Avenue Subway. Nearly 45 years later, no trains have ever run under Second Avenue.
The line has had at least three groundbreakings.
In 2007, it got another one.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer and a host of dignitaries will descend down a sidewalk hatch at 102nd Street, a block south of the spot where Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller and Mayor John V. Lindsay held a groundbreaking in October 1972. They will go into a never-used section of a three-decade old subway tunnel, stretching from 105th Street to 99th Street. The governor will give a speech, hoist a pickax and take a few cracks at the concrete wall, symbolically beginning the construction where it left off in the 1970s.
Several factors actually suggest that this time the outcome may be different. The financing for the $3.8 billion project appears more certain than in the past, including an anticipated federal commitment to cover about a third of the cost.
The goal of the first phase is to extend the Q line north from 57th Street to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. From there the Q will stop on Second Avenue at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets. It is expected to become an integral part of the wider subway system when it is completed, which planners hope will be in 2013. Once further financing is secured, later phases of construction will extend the line north to 125th Street and south to Lower Manhattan.
It was September 1929 when the city formally announced plans to build the Second Avenue subway, extending the length of the East Side and into the Bronx. The cost of digging the Manhattan portion of the tunnel was estimated at $99 million, although there would be additional expenses, including the cost of real estate and equipment. But within a few years, amid the Great Depression, planning for the new line came to a halt.
The plans were revived during World War II. In 1951, voters approved a measure that allowed the city to raise $500 million for transit improvements, with the expectation that most of it would go to build the new line. But the money was used to fix up the existing system. No work was performed on Second Avenue.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority took over the city’s subway system in 1968 and began championing an ambitious range of projects, including the Second Avenue subway, from Whitehall Street to 138th Street in the Bronx.
In July 1974, Mayor Abraham D. Beame attended a groundbreaking at Second Avenue and Second Street. He went at the pavement with a jackhammer. The plan was to build the subway piecemeal, contracting out short, disconnected sections.
A year later the city was near bankruptcy; Mayor Beame called a halt to further construction. The stretch of tunnel he broke ground on was never built, although three other sections were finished and sealed.