Second Avenue Subway

Second Avenue Subway
Second Avenue Subway

Planned route of the NYC Subway Second Avenue Line ("T", in teal).
Type Rapid transit
System New York City Subway
Status Under construction
Locale Manhattan, New York City, USA
Termini 125th Street
Hanover Square
Stations 16
Opened Late 2016 (expected)
Owner City of New York
Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority
Character Underground
Line length 8.5 mi (13.7 km)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600 V DC third rail
[v · Legend
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Provision for future expansion to the Bronx
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Handicapped/disabled access 125th Street
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116th Street
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106th Street
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96th Street (under construction)
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86th Street (under construction)
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72nd Street (under construction)
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BMT 63rd Street Line
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IND 63rd Street Line
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55th Street
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42nd Street
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34th Street
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23rd Street
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14th Street
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Houston Street
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Grand Street
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Chatham Square
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Hanover Square
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Provision for future expansion to Brooklyn

The Second Avenue Subway (SAS) is a planned rapid transit subway line, part of the New York City Subway system. Phase I, consisting of two miles (3 km) of tunnel and three stations, is currently under construction underneath Second Avenue in the borough of Manhattan.

A plan for more than 75 years, the Second Avenue Subway tunnelling contract was awarded to the consortium of Schiavone/Shea/Skanska by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on March 20, 2007.[1] This followed preliminary engineering and a final tunnel design completed by a joint venture between DMJM Harris[2] and Arup.[3][4] This contract, and the full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration which was received in November 2007, is for Phase I of the project, a newly built line between the existing BMT 63rd Street Line and 96th Street and 2nd Avenue.[5] The total cost of the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) line is expected to be over $17 billion.[6]

A ceremonial ground-breaking for the Second Avenue Subway was held on April 12, 2007 and the contractor prepared the initial construction site at 96th Street on April 23, 2007. A tunnel boring machine (TBM) was originally expected to arrive six to eight months after construction began, but the utility relocation and excavation required to create its "launch box" delayed its deployment until May 2010.[5] As of May 2010 the TBM launch box was complete, and on May 14, 2010, MTA's contractors completed the TBM installation and turned it on.[7][8][9] As of February 2011, the TBM has mined more than 7,200 feet (2,200 m) and has completed the west tunnel. The TBM will now be disassembled and pulled back to 92nd Street where it will start its second run to mine the east tunnel in the spring.[10]

The reasons for the line's many "false starts" and delays are numerous and complex. The line is sometimes referred to as "The Line That Time Forgot".[6][11]



Originally proposed in 1929 as part of a massive expansion of the Independent Subway System (IND), work on the line never commenced, as the Great Depression crushed the economy of the state and country. Need for the Second Avenue Subway line grew, especially in recent years, as the East Side of Manhattan experienced significant residential development. Currently, the lone rapid transit option on the Upper East Side is the four-track IRT Lexington Avenue Line, the most crowded in the country. Its average of 1.3 million daily riders on this single line exceeds the daily traffic load of the entire Washington Metro system (which has the second-highest ridership in the U.S.), and exceeds the combined daily ridership of the rail transit systems of San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.[12] Local bus routes are just as crowded during various times of the day. The construction of the Second Avenue line would add another two tracks to fill the gap that has existed since the elevated IRT Second Avenue Line was demolished in 1940–42 and the IRT Third Avenue Line was removed in 1955–56.

The city started planning, again, in 1945, to build the new subway and bought a prototype train (the R11) in 1949 for use on the new line.[13] New York voters approved bond acts for its construction in 1951 and in 1967. Money from the 1951 bond measure was diverted to buy new cars, lengthen platforms, and maintain other parts of the aging New York City subway system. The proceeds of the 1967 bond act were partly used to begin tunneling under Second Avenue. Digging began in 1972; however, a few years later, the city became insolvent. "It's the most famous thing that's never been built in New York City, so everyone is skeptical and rightly so," said Gene Russianoff, an advocate for subway riders since 1981. "It's much-promised and never delivered."

On November 8, 2005, voters in New York State passed the Transportation Bond Act, which will, among other projects, partially fund construction of the line. Its passage had been seen as critical to its construction. After warning that failure to pass the act would doom the project, MTA chairman Peter S. Kalikow stated that "Now it's up to us to complete the job" given its approval by a 55–45% margin.[14]

In August 2006, the MTA revealed that all future subway stations, including ones built for the Second Avenue subway, the 7 Subway Extension, and the new South Ferry station will be outfitted with special air-cooling systems to reduce the temperature along platforms.[15]

In November 2007, Mary Peters, the United States Secretary of Transportation announced that the Second Avenue Subway would receive $1.3 billion in federal funding for the project's first phase, to be funded over a seven-year period.[16]


The Second Avenue El, looking south on First Avenue from 13th Street during its demolition in September 1942

The need for a subway line under Manhattan's Second Avenue was realized shortly after the First World War. In 1919, the New York Public Service Commission launched a study at the behest of engineer Daniel L. Turner to determine what improvements were needed in the city's public transport system. The Second Avenue Elevated operated above Second Avenue north of the Queensboro Bridge until 1940, and south to downtown, part of the way on First Avenue, until June 13, 1942.[17] The Third Avenue Elevated operated a block to the west until 1955.

Turner's final paper, titled Proposed Comprehensive Rapid Transit System, was a massive plan calling for new routes under almost every north-south Manhattan avenue, extensions to lines in Brooklyn and Queens, and several crossings of The Narrows to Staten Island. Massively scaled-down versions of some of Turner's plans were found in proposals for the new city-owned Independent Subway System (IND). Among the plans was a massive trunk line under Second Avenue consisting of at least six tracks and numerous branches throughout Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

In 1929, the Board of Transportation of the City of New York tentatively approved the expansion, which included a Second Avenue Line with a projected construction cost of $98,900,000 ($1,268,156,335 today), not counting land acquisition. From north to south, the 1929 plan included four tracks from the Harlem River (where it would continue north as a Bronx trunk line with several branches) to 125th Street, six tracks from 125th Street to a link with the IND Sixth Avenue Line at 61st Street, four tracks from 61st Street to Chambers Street, and two tracks from Chambers Street to Pine Street.

Due to the Great Depression, the soaring costs of the expansion became unmanageable. Construction on the first phase of the IND was already behind schedule, and the city and state were no longer able to provide funding. A scaled-down proposal including a turnoff at 34th Street and a connection crosstown was postponed in 1931.

Further revision of the plan and more studies followed. By 1939, construction had been postponed indefinitely, and Second Avenue was relegated to "proposed" status. The 1939 plan for subway expansion took the line not only into the Bronx (by now as a single line to Throggs Neck) but also south into Brooklyn, connecting to the stub of the IND Fulton Street Line at Court Street.

The United States' entry into World War II in 1941 halted all but the most urgent public works projects, delaying the Second Avenue Line once again.


Finally, in 1945, plans for the Second Avenue Subway were again revised. The southern two-track portion was abandoned as a possible future plan for connecting the line to Brooklyn.

A 1947 plan once again connected the Second Avenue Line to Brooklyn, but via the BMT trackage over the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. A connection would allow trains from these bridges to go onto the IND Sixth Avenue Line rather than the Second Avenue Line. Other connections to the Second Avenue Line were to be provided at 57th Street, via a line connecting to the Sixth Avenue Line; two express tracks would be built along that line north of West Fourth Street. The IRT Pelham Line would be switched to the combined IND/BMT division (this plan also includes other connections, which have been built), and connected to the Second Avenue Line. The Second Avenue Line would end just north of that connection, at 149th Street, with transfers to the IRT White Plains Road Line and the elevated IRT Third Avenue Line, the latter of which would be demolished south of 149th Street.

In 1949, the New York Board of Transportation accepted delivery of ten new prototype subway cars made of stainless steel from the Budd Company, named by their contract, R11, specifically intended for the Second Avenue Subway. They cost $100,000 ($921,289 today) each; the train became known as the "million dollar train". The cars featured porthole style round windows and a new public address system. Reflecting public health concerns of the day, especially regarding polio, the R11 cars were equipped with electrostatic air filters and ultraviolet lamps in their ventilation systems to kill germs.[13][18]

By 1950, the plans called for a connection from Second Avenue at 76th Street to 34th Avenue in Queens, via a new tunnel under the East River. The city was able to raise money for the construction effort — just barely — but the onset of the Korean War caused soaring prices for construction materials and saw the beginning of massive inflation.

A 1954 plan added another feeder, an East River tunnel at 76th Street, connecting existing Long Island Rail Road trackage (which would be converted for subway use) to the Second Avenue Line towards downtown. This plan has been revitalized as part of the 2005 Transportation Bond Act, which would connect the LIRR trackage to Grand Central Terminal via the 63rd Street Tunnel as part of the East Side Access project.

The southernmost part of the 1947 plan, connecting the two BMT bridges to the IND Sixth Avenue Line, was built in the 1960s and opened in 1967 as the Chrystie Street Connection. Other parts of that plan were carried out, including the connection at 57th Street (moved to 63rd Street) and the abandonment of the IRT Third Avenue Line south of 149th Street, but the rest of the Second Avenue Line was not built. Plans now call for an additional two tracks in the Chrystie Street area for the Second Avenue mainline; current plans have the new tracks under the old ones, while older plans had one track on each side of the Chrystie Street Connection.

1970s: Completed segments

In 1964, Congress passed the Urban Mass Transportation Act, promising federal money to fund mass transit projects in America's cities via the Urban Mass Transportation Administration. In 1967, voters approved a $2.5 billion ($16,445,000,000 today) Transportation Bond Issue, which provided over $600 million for New York City projects. The Second Avenue project was given top priority, and would stretch from 34th Street to The Bronx. The City secured a UMTA grant for initial construction, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 27, 1972. Construction began shortly thereafter at 2nd Avenue and 103rd Street.

However, the city soon experienced its most dire fiscal crisis yet. The stagnant economy of 1975, combined with the massive outflow of city residents to the suburbs, led to a fiscal disaster for the city. Construction of the subway was halted, with only three sections of tunnel having been completed, in addition to the Chrystie Street Connection. These sections are between Pell and Canal Street, 99th and 105th, and 110th and 120th Streets. The two northern sections between 99th and 105th, and 110th and 120th Streets, will be used in Phase 2 of the current SAS plan (96th to 125th). The section from Pell to Canal will not be used under the current preferred alternative, which will bring the line a few blocks away from this section. Construction was also begun between 2nd and 9th Streets, though the extent is unknown; some rumors say that only utilities were relocated, while others say that it was excavated but filled back in.[19]

1990s and beyond


With the city's economic and budgetary recovery in the 1990s, there was a revival of efforts to complete construction of the SAS. Rising ridership on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line, the only subway trunk line east of Central Park in Manhattan, demonstrated the need for the Second Avenue Line, as capacity and safety concerns rose.

The MTA's final environmental impact statement was approved in April 2004; the latest proposal is for a two-track line from 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Harlem, down Second Avenue to Hanover Square in the Financial District. The new subway line will actually carry two services. The full-length Second Avenue line, extending from Harlem to the financial district, probably will be given the teal T as its letter designation. However, it is the other service, a proposed reroute of the Q, which will begin carrying passengers first.

The MTA proposes to build the Second Avenue Subway in four segments with connections to other subway lines. The first segment (phase 1) is a proposed reroute of the Q, BMT Broadway Line across 63rd Street and north along Second Avenue to the Upper East Side at 96th Street. The other three segments, in the order that they are proposed to be built, are an reroute of the Q train to 125th Street from 96th Street (phase 2), 63rd Street to Houston Street (phase 3, introduction of the T train), and Houston Street to Hanover Square, Manhattan (phase 4, full length T train service).[20]

Computer-generated image of a future Second Avenue Subway station

New York voters passed a transportation bond issue in November 2005, hence state funding is now in place for phase 1; the first construction contract of the current plan finally signed, the MTA is expected to receive a full funding agreement from the federal government to complete phase 1.

The East Side Access project, which will bring thousands of Long Island Rail Road commuters into Grand Central Terminal by 2016, will increase the ridership on the overburdened Lexington Avenue Line and is certain to further the lower portion of the Second Avenue Line project (phases 3 and 4) for East Side subway service.

The subway will be built with deep bore tunneling methods, avoiding the cumbersome utility relocation and cut-and-cover methods of past generations that made subway building disruptive for traffic, pedestrians, and store owners. Only the stations will use cut-and-cover construction. Efforts are underway to minimize the impacts of this construction.[21]

Construction began with utility relocation; the MTA anticipated completing this step in six to 8 months, but it was in fact still not finished 14 months after commencement. For boring, a trench will be dug from 96th to 93rd Streets; the tunnel boring machine will be placed in the ground at 92nd Street and will bore southbound, connecting shafts at 86th and 72nd Streets, which to be sunk as starting points for subway stations. Tunneling is expected to take about a year.[22] As of June 2008, substantial portions of the utility relocation work between 91 St. and 96 St. were completed.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on December 18, 2006, they would allow the MTA to commit up to $693 million in funds to begin construction of the Second Avenue Subway Line and that the federal share of such costs would be reimbursed with FTA transit funds, subject to appropriations and final labor certification.[23]

In late January 2007, New York media reported that a $333 million contract would be awarded within weeks to three American firms to build Phase One. The actual price was $337 million; the TBM will begin at 92nd St, not 96th St as reported. The station site at 96th Street will see cut and cover construction.[24][25][26][27]

Groundbreaking for the 2nd Avenue Subway construction project was on April 12, 2007, in a tunnel segment built in the 1970s at 99th Street. The MTA reported that the 1970s 2nd Avenue subway tunnel (which will be part of Phase I and Phase II) is in pristine condition.[28]

In June 2008, the MTA, facing huge increases in the costs of construction materials and diesel fuel (used to power construction equipment) affecting the prices of contracts not yet signed, announced that certain features of the Second Avenue Subway would be simplified to save money. One set of changes, which significantly reduces the footprint of the subway in the vicinity of 72nd Street is the alteration of the 72nd Street Station from a three-track, two-platform design to a two-track, single island platform design, paired with the elimination of the third track and simplification of the planned interlocking merging the BMT Broadway Line's Second Ave extension and the planned T subway, extending south of 63rd Street along Second Avenue. Supplemental environmental impact studies covering station configuration options for the proposed 72nd Street and 86th Street stations are underway.[29][30]

The MTA is investigating the feasibility of making the Second Avenue line the first line in New York City (excluding the non-MTA JFK Airtrain) to feature platform screen doors. These doors would greatly reduce track fires and accidents. However, since the rolling stock is not designed for Automatic Train Operation (ATO), a system would need to be designed that would enable human-operated trains to align with the doors at a station stop.[31]

Construction methods

Planned construction methods vary depending on the section of the line, due to varying underground conditions. The methods planned for each section are as follows:[32][33]

Streets Construction method Streets Construction method Streets Construction method Streets Construction method Streets Construction method
125-120 Tunnel Boring Machine 106-101 Existing 73-71 Mined with Cut and Cover 41-34 Tunnel Boring Machine 15-13 Cut and Cover
120-117 Existing 101-95 Cut and Cover 71-58 Tunnel Boring Machine 34-32 Cut and Cover
117-114 Cut and Cover 95-87 Tunnel Boring Machine 58-56 Cut and Cover 34-24 Tunnel Boring Machine
114–109 Existing 87-84 Mined with Cut and Cover 56-43 Tunnel Boring Machine 24-22 Mined with Cut and Cover
109-106 Cut and Cover 84-73 Tunnel Boring Machine 43-41 Mined with Cut and Cover 22-15 Tunnel Boring Machine

A number of different methods will be used to tunnel for 13.7 kilometers (8.5 mi) underneath Manhattan, which is densely populated. 90% of the tunneling will be performed by a tunnel boring machine. The rest of it will be done using the cut and cover method and mined drill and blast, for sections, generally the 16 stations, that average 275 meters (902 ft) in length. The stations at 86th and 72nd Streets will be mined. This will be challenging, given the number of high value, high rise properties in their vicinities. The 96th Street cut and cover station will be at about 15 meters (49 ft) deep, making it one of the shallowest stations. Stations at the two mined stations will be between 25.9 meters (85 ft) and 27.4 meters (90 ft) deep in rock. The construction method that will be used should ease concerns for the above buildings, because only two shafts will be required for excavation.[34]

In Phase 1 there will be tunneling between East 63rd and 92nd Streets and a 248-meter-long (814 ft) by 23-meter-wide (75 ft) TBM launch box will be built. That will ultimately become part of the 15-meter-deep (49 ft) 96th Street Station. Two access shafts will be constructed for the East 72nd Street Station. Slurry or diaphragm walls, 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) wide and 6.1 meters (20 ft) long and approximately 35 meters (115 ft) deep, will be built alongside the sections between East 93rd and 95th Streets. Inasmuch as the rock is shallower between East 91st and 93rd Streets, 1.1-meter-diameter (3.6 ft) secant piles will do the same work at shallower depths.[34]

Paving over at 72nd Street
83rd Street

Earth excavation will be conducted between walls, once they are installed, and a box structure will be built using a bottom-up construction method. Temporary decking will constitute the top of the box, and the decking will both brace the excavation and support the walls and Second Avenue traffic.[34]

The tunnels and stations will be up to approximately 30 meters (98 ft) below street level. Of the below-ground obstacles, Arup director of construction David Caiden says: "It’s a spaghetti of tunnels, utilities, pipes and cables – I’ve never seen anything like it."[34] Additionally, the project must go over, or under, subway lines, Amtrak railway lines, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel linking Manhattan and Queens.[34]

There are geological anomalies along the way. Manhattan's geology changes along the subway’s length, passing through rock and soft ground, consisting of sands, silts, and clays over Manhattan schist, and there are faults and shear zones as well as fractured rock. Hard-rock Tunnel Boring Machines 6.7 meters (22 ft) in diameter will tunnel during the first phase, progressing at anticipated rate of about 20 meters (66 ft) per day.[34]

Planned SAS route/stations and designation

The plans for the Second Avenue Subway involve digging 8.5 miles (13.7 km) of new tunnel from 125th Street in Harlem south to Hanover Square, which is located in Manhattan's Financial District. Initially, during Phase I, the line will begin at the intersection of Second Avenue and 96th Street, running south to join the BMT Broadway Line via the existing BMT 63rd Street Line. Phase I stations will be located at 96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street. Plans call for the Q service to be re-routed to 96th Street (though the effect of the 2010 subway service changes on these plans are unknown), and then in Phase II to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. After Phase III, the new[35] T service will operate from 125th Street to Houston Street. After Phase IV opens, T service will run the full length of the line, from 125th Street to Hanover Square.

The MTA decided to designate the main, full-length Second Avenue service the T in part for the following reasons:

  • The letters O and I are too easily confused with the digits 0 and 1, respectively.
  • The letters H and K were used in the relatively recent past to denote services on the Eighth Avenue line, which includes the A, C and E trains, and thus are not preferred.
  • MTA executives volunteered that the letter P was rejected at a whim, as it sounds like a word.
    • The letters U and Y were also rejected for this reason.

This left the letter T as the final choice.[36]

The new stations of the completed Second Avenue Line are proposed as follows, with Phase 1 under construction:

Station Phase Transfers & Notes
Northern terminal station for Q train (Phase 2) and T train (Phase 3)
125th Street 2 4 5 6 <6> trains (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
M60 bus to LaGuardia Airport
connection to Harlem – 125th Street (Metro-North Railroad)
at Lexington Avenue and 125th Street
116th Street 2
106th Street 2
96th Street 1 Northern terminal station for Q train in Phase 1
86th Street 1
72nd Street 1
Q train splits to BMT Broadway Line via BMT 63rd Street Line (Phase 1)
T train continues down Second Avenue (Phase 3)
55th Street 3 E M trains (IND Queens Boulevard Line) at Lexington Avenue – 53rd Street
4 6 <6> trains (IRT Lexington Avenue Line) at 51st Street
42nd Street 3 7 <7> trains (IRT Flushing Line)
S train (IRT 42nd Street Shuttle)
4 5 6 <6> trains (IRT Lexington Avenue Line) at Grand Central – 42nd Street
connection to Grand Central Terminal (Metro-North Railroad & Long Island Rail Road once East Side Access Project is completed.)
34th Street 3
23rd Street 3
14th Street 3 L train (BMT Canarsie Line) at Third Avenue
Houston Street 3 F train (IND Sixth Avenue Line) at Second Avenue
Grand Street 4 B D trains (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
Chatham Square 4 at Worth Street
Seaport 4 at Fulton Street
Hanover Square 4 at Old Slip

The above stations will serve the Second Avenue main service, terminating at 125th Street and at Hanover Square. In addition to the main service, tentatively dubbed the T, and colored teal, a connection is planned to the BMT Broadway Line, utilizing an existing connection via the BMT 63rd Street Line, as part of phase 1. It is likely that the Q service will be extended northward from 57th Street – Seventh Avenue, curving east under Central Park on the unused portion of the BMT 63rd Street Line. The Q train would stop at Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street with a cross-platform transfer to the IND 63rd Street Line (F train) before merging with the Second Avenue Line at 64th Street. Thus, the residents of Spanish Harlem and the Upper East Side will have direct mass transit service down both Second Avenue and Broadway to the Financial District, and across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn via the Q train.

An additional two-track connection is planned between the line towards Lower Manhattan (around 62nd Street) and the IND 63rd Street Line towards Queens; current plans don't call for it to be used by regular service. Provisions are also being made for an extension north under Second Avenue past 125th Street to the Bronx, and an extension south to Brooklyn. No track connection will be provided to the Chrystie Street Connection.

Just north of Broome Street, the subway will pass under a short unused highway tunnel, the only part of the Lower Manhattan Expressway to be built.

Construction status

In March 2007, the MTA awarded a contract for constructing the tunnels between 92nd and 63rd Streets, a launch box for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) at 92nd to 95th Streets, and access shafts at 69th and 72nd Streets. This contract, valued at $337 million, was awarded to a joint venture of Schiavone Construction, Skanska USA Civil and San Francisco-based J.F. Shea Construction.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the first phase of the Second Avenue subway was held on April 12, 2007.[37] Actual construction work began, on the surface of 2nd Avenue between 91st and 95th Streets, on April 23, 2007.

On May 28, 2009, the MTA awarded a $303.8 million contract to E.E. Cruz and Tully Construction Co., a Joint Venture and LLC, to construct the 96th Street station box.[38] Work began in July on site clearing and utility relocation necessary to prepare for the installation of slurry walls between 95th and 99th Streets where the station connects to the existing tunnel section built in the 1970s.

In June 2009, the first of three contracts for the 86th Street Station was awarded for the advance utility relocation work and construction of cut and cover shaft areas at 83rd and 86th Streets. This contract provided two vertical starter shafts that will be used by a subsequent contractor to excavate the station cavern in the rock between 83rd and 86th Streets.

On June 5, 2009 an apartment building at 1772 Second Avenue was evacuated by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) after it was determined that the building was in danger of collapse.[39] Then on June 29, 2009 the DOB evacuated a mixed use building at 1768 Second Avenue/301 East 92nd Street because it too was in danger of collapse.[40] The evacuation of these two buildings has delayed the contractor's plan to use controlled blasting to remove bedrock in the southern section of the launch box.[41] Until the blasting permits could be issued, MTA required contractors to use mechanical equipment to remove the bedrock, which is slower than blasting out the rock.[42] As of late October, 2009, one building has been shored up, and work is in progress on the second; MTA has rescheduled blasting to begin during the week of November 2.[43]

On October 1, 2010, MTA awarded a $431 million contract to SSK Constructors (a joint venture) for the mining of the tunnels connecting the 72nd St station to the existing 63rd Street station, and for the excavation and heavy civil structures of the 72nd St Station. Subsequent contracts will be awarded for the following: excavation of the cavern at 86th Street Station; architectural and mechanical and electrical work at 72nd, 86th and 96th Street Stations; rehabilitation of the 63rd Street Station; and the Systems Contract (track, signals and communications) for the entire Phase 1 area. On January, MTA awarded Judlau Contracting a 40-month, $176,400,000 contract to rebuild and enlarge the Lexington Ave/63rd Street Station.[44]

The MTA and its contractors on the project meet on a regular basis with the Manhattan Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force and Manhattan Community Board 11 to report on construction progress and to seek input from the community.[45] The MTA maintains a Construction Look Ahead web page that summarizes the planned construction activity for the next three weeks.

On May 14, 2010, the Tunnel Boring Machine was started at the Second Avenue Subway launch box at 96th Street. The TBM dug at a rate of approximately 50 feet per day; the TBM finished its run at the planned endpoint under 65th Street on February 5, 2011.[46] S3 partially disassembled the TBM and backed it out of the tunnel. It was repositioned in the east starter tunnel to begin boring again.[47] Because the east side of Second Avenue has some soft ground not compatible with the Robbins TBM, ground-freezing was undertaken to prepare the soil for the TBM.[8][48][49] On March 28, 2011, S3, having completed its task of completing the 7,200-foot (2,200 m) west tunnel to 65th Street, began drilling the east tunnel, with the first 200 feet (61 m) being through soil frozen by S3 using calcium chloride fed through a network of pipes.[10][50] The TBM drilling the east tunnel will negotiate the curve onto 63rd Street and break through the bellmouth at the existing 63rd St subway station. The portion of the west tunnel remaining to be created will be mined using conventional drill-and-blast methods, because the curve S3 construction teams would have to negotiate is too tight for the TBM.

On September 22, 2011, the TBM completed its run to the 63rd Street Station bellmouth; MTA will disassemble and remove the TBM by locomotive and begin installing a concrete liner[51]

Workers celebrate after the TBM reaches the BMT 63rd Street Line.

The west tunnel from 65 Street to the BMT 63rd Street Line is the responsibility of SSK.

Estimated completion schedules have provided much fodder for critics. The most recent proposed construction schedule has the Second Avenue Subway open for passenger service in 2016.[52] Other recent publications have listed expected construction dates as follows:

  • 2007–16:[53] Phase 1 (96th St. to 63rd St.) State Funding In-Place, Federal Funding Approved.[54] In its 2008 capital improvement budget proposal, the MTA pushed back completion of Phase 1 from 2014 to 2015. In 2009 the MTA pushed it back again to 2016.[55]
  • Phase 2 (125th St. to 96th St.) Engineering ongoing. No funding commitments.
  • Phase 3 (63rd St. to Houston St.) Engineering ongoing. No funding commitments.
  • Phase 4 (Houston St. to Hanover Square) Engineering ongoing. No funding commitments.

See also


  1. ^ MTA Press Release March 20, 2007
  2. ^ "DMJM Harris". DMJM Harris. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  3. ^ Arup to design new Second Avenue Subway, New York | Arup[dead link]
  4. ^ Second Avenue Subway | Transport Consulting | Arup[dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Second Avenue Subway – A Status Report" (PDF). Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Sargent, Greg (March 29, 2004). The Line That Time Forgot – Second Avenue Subway. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  7. ^ " "Blasting on Second Avenue". March 22, 2010.". 
  8. ^ a b Siff, Andrew (May 14, 2010). "2nd Ave. Subway Tunnel Dig Begins". WNBC. Retrieved May 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Tunneling Begins Under Second Avenue". MTA. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b " "Excavation of West Tunnel for Second Avenue Subway Complete". February 7, 2011.". 
  11. ^ "The line that time forgot". PlanNYC. April 5, 2004. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Second Avenue Subway in the Borough of Manhattan, New York County, New York Final Environmental Impact Statement And Final Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) Evaluation" (in English) (PDF). 2004-04. pp. 1-5, 1-6. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  13. ^ a b Neuman, William (March 24, 2007). "A Museum-Quality Car for a Subway Yet Unbuilt". New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  14. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 9, 2005). "Voters Approve Transit Bonds for $2.9 Billion". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2007. 
  15. ^ Donohue, Pete (August 4, 2006). "Cooler Subways Coming Eventually". Daily News (New York). Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  16. ^ Neuman, William (November 19, 2007). "U.S. Approves $1.3 Billion for 2nd Avenue Subway". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2007. 
  17. ^ Staff. "Second Avenue 'El' Coming to a Stop", The Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 1942. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  18. ^ R-11 Datasheet
  19. ^ FAQ: Completed Portions of the 2nd Avenue Subway. Retrieved August 4, 2006.
  20. ^ Construction phasing
  21. ^ Stabile, Tom (May 2006). "New York's Subway System Finally Starting Major Expansion"]. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  22. ^ 2nd Ave subway could get early start, AM New York, October 24, 2006.
  23. ^ "U.S. Transportation Secretary Signs Record $2.6 Billion Agreement to Fund New Tunnel Network To Give Long Island Commuters Direct Access to Grand Central Station", United States Department of Transportation press release dated December 18, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2007.
  24. ^ Exclusive: Ground Breaking For 2nd Avenue Subway Line Weeks Away – NY1, January 24, 2007
  25. ^ 2nd Avenue Subway Contract Signed – WNYC Newsroom, March 21, 2007
  26. ^ Olshan, Jeremy (March 21, 2007). "Second Ave. Tunnel Vision". New York Post. Retrieved January 9, 2009. 
  27. ^ "MTA Signs Second Ave. Subway Contract". New York Sun. March 21, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  28. ^ Date set for 2nd Ave line groundbreaking – AmNY, March 28, 2007
  29. ^ "Microsoft PowerPoint – 0080617_CB8_Final [Compatibility Mode]". Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Microsoft PowerPoint – 080729_CB8_Final_distribution version". Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  31. ^ Glass walls, sliding doors on 2nd Ave. subway? − Accessed April 5, 2007
  32. ^
  33. ^ Photograph of 95th St – 101 Street Tunnel Contract Notice posted by EE Cruz-Tully Joint Venture
  34. ^ a b c d e f Wynne, Alexandra (January 20, 2009). "Fairytale of New York – Second Avenue Subway takes shape | Features | New Civil Engineer". Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  35. ^ The old (1960s) T service was also called the West End train. The reference was to Brooklyn. By contrast, the new T service will serve the East Side of Manhattan, and "will unite the Upper and Lower East Sides." (Wired Magazine, Aug. '08, p. 36, )
  36. ^ Reeves, Hope (October 26, 2006). "The Second Avenue Subway Is Brought to You by the Letter T". New York Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Second Avenue subway groundbreaking: Is 4th time the charm?". The Journal News. April 12, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  38. ^ "MTA Capital Construction Recent Contract Awards, retrieved May 30, 2009". Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  39. ^ Namako, Tom (June 6, 2009). "2nd Ave. Subway Caused Building Evac: Officials". New York Post. 
  40. ^ Sutherland, Amber; Namako, Tom (July 1, 2009). "Second Ave. Tenants RIP 'Train Wreck'". New York Post. 
  41. ^ Rivoli, Dan (September 2, 2009). "2nd Ave. Subway Delays". Our Town. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  42. ^ Simeone, Jessica; Namako, Tom (September 26, 2009). "Second Ave. on Snail Rail". New York Post. 
  43. ^ [1]
  44. ^ MTACC Procurement
  45. ^ "Microsoft PowerPoint – 090323 S3 Construction Update _final [Compatibility Mode]" (PDF). Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Excavation of West Tunnel for Second Avenue Subway Almost Complete". MTAcPress Release. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  48. ^ "Boring Manhattan: Ceremony Launches Subway Project". WCBS. Associated Press. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2010. [dead link]
  49. ^ Roth, Jamie (May 14, 2010). "Boring for new 2nd Avenue subway begins". WABC. Retrieved May 14, 2010. 
  50. ^ "Tunneling for Second Avenue Subway Continues". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 28, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  51. ^ "Tunneling for Second Avenue Subway Complete". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 22, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  52. ^ Reproduction of MTA Construction Company schedule sheet
  53. ^ Neuman, William (May 18, 2007). "Manhattan: Budget Increases for New Subway". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2007. 
  54. ^ Earle, Geoff (April 18, 2006). "Feds Finally Aboard 2nd Avenue $ubway". New York Post. 
  55. ^ Donohue, Pete (April 24, 2009). "Second Ave. subway set back – again". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 20, 2010. 


External videos
"What is the Second Avenue Subway?", Metropolitan Transportation Authority; January 12, 2010; one minute YouTube video clip
"TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) Cutterhead Arrives", Metropolitan Transportation Authority; April 22, 2010; 2:51 YouTube video clip
"Second Avenue Subway TBM Launch Ceremony", Metropolitan Transportation Authority; May 14, 2010; 2:11 YouTube video clip
"Second Avenue Subway - 9/22/2011 Update", Metropolitan Transportation Authority; September 23, 2011; 2:02 YouTube video clip
MTA Second Avenue Subway Project Resources
Other Second Avenue Subway Project Resources
News Stories

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