A slow start to the TBM’s journey down 2nd Ave.

By · Published in 2010

Over six weeks, the MTA brought politicians and reporters underneath Second Ave. for the ceremonial launch of the Second Ave. Subway tunnel boring machine. The MTA’s plans called for the TBM to dig out two 7800-foot long tunnels from 96th St. to the northern stub of the BMT Broadway tracks at 63rd St. and Lexington Ave. Digging at a pace of 40-60 feet per day, the TBM should complete the first tunnel by January, but the early going has been rough.

As Dan Rivoli reported last week, the TBM had been digging at a pace of just 10 feet a day due to some highly fractured rock underneath the avenue. Because so much is unknown about the geology of Manhattan, the MTA had to proceed cautiously through this stretch of rock. Otherwise, the TBM’s digging could have created complications and the threat of a cave-in in the eastern starter tunnel. As of Thursday, the MTA’s Aaron Donovan informed me, the TBM had broken through the area of highly fractured rock and had reached the 300-foot mark. Although it is still in the start-up phase, the TBM should now begin to pick up speed. 2016, here we come.

14 Responses to “A slow start to the TBM’s journey down 2nd Ave.”

  1. Jerrold says:

    I notice that in the Our Town article, it says something about 2014.
    Does ANYBODY believe anymore that it won’t be 2016 at the earliest?

  2. David says:

    I think if you think that this project is done by 2016 then I have a bucket of gold for you…Watch..in about a year they will announce it has been moved to what the FTA says- Feb 2018.

  3. Justin Samuels says:

    On construction projects like this, you know you will have delays for various reasons and take them into account. Still, the tunneling itself will be done at the end of 2011, nothing that’s happened is a serious delay.

    And the MTA has finished projects in recent years on time, such as the 63 street tunnel connector to the Queens Boulevard line, or such as them opening up the new South Ferry station.

    • South Ferry was on time-ish. There were some last-minute engineering delays, and the project was supposed to wrap approximately 12 months earlier than it did. Considering the obstacles it fasted, that’s not terrible.

      • Eric F. says:

        The Ferry Terminal at South Ferry was delayed for eons, and the plaza, which was to be comppleted some time during one of Bush II’s terms, still languishes.

  4. KPL says:

    Did they not think to hire some geologists to try to get some picture/idea of the area they were trying to bore?

  5. Ben says:

    The people doing the deep subteranean work seem to be professionals. They hit snags, they move past them. Admirable work.

    The folks doing the surface work have and continue to endanger the entire project. The long delays, the padding, the slipdash stop and go, absentee workers, the worst in government contract abuses can be seen every single day on the surface where the stations will be. We saw this game being played at the Launch Box for a couple of years, which put the project back a few years. The relocation of utilities at 96th Street, 86th Street, and 72nd Streets is the same game all over again. In a typical day, maybe 10 people are working on these sites. The materials have been sitting languishing for months. It’s a sham.

    Indeed, as the article points out, the tunnels are going to be finished. When will adequate crews show up to relocate the utilities and mine the stations?

    I’m glad the MTA is paying residents high fees who are being displaced. The attitude is the right one. Keep moving forward. The entire project is going to hit another brick wall, unless the companies and the crews who are suppose to do the work at these locations show up right now. The MTA needs to put someone on these folks and make sure the job gets done — one way or another.

    • John Paul N. says:

      I am not a regular observer of the construction, but would having more crews be either a time- or cost-saver in this project? And is the reason why there aren’t any more crews either the procurements don’t allow more workers, expenses, or too many cooks spoiling the pot?

      • Ben says:

        Every aspect of the project is being mismanaged — no exaggeration. As others have pointed out, other cities build dozens of miles with more sophisticated tracks, trains and dozens of stations in tougher conditions at a lower per mile cost. I’ll add that they start and finish these much larger projects and in the same amount of time we can’t complete one mile nor a single station. The mismanagement of this project will be legendary and indictable.

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