Once upon a time back in 2005, the MTA announced an unfunded plan to move the uptown 6 platform at Bleecker Street south a few hundred feet, connect it to the IND station at Broadway-Lafayette and make the entire station ADA-accessible all for the cost of a cool $50 million. By the time money materialized for the project in 2007, costs had reached $60 million, and and in 2009, the MTA said the $94 million station rehab would wrap in November of 2011. November has come and gone with many signs of construction but none of the new transfer in place, and many straphangers have been wondering what exactly is happening there.
We now have an update and a revised overall price tag. According to MTA documents from the last board meeting, work is set to wrap at Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette by the end of this June, and the combined price tag for the entire project is now over $109 million. The price estimates come from the MTA’s capital dashboard (1 and 2). The increase — from $50 million in 2005 to $109 million in 2012 — isn’t as bad as it seems as the earlier figures were rough estimates based on conditions before any design or engineering work has begun. Still, this project is massively over budge and will be seven or eight months late.
The current delay is only three months. At some point within the last two years, the MTA had pushed back the expected completion date to March 2012. Now we’ll wait until June because the MTA has found that contingencies related to ADA accessibility have been expended. The work to relocate tunnel lighting equipment necessary for placement of the elevator has been slower and more expensive than anticipated. Furthermore, contractors ran into problems relocating a water main at Houston St. as well.
And so we wait. We’ve waited decades for this transfer to become a reality. Now we’ll wait some more. What’s three more months among friends anyway? After all, where would be if it didn’t take nearly as long to rehab one of the original IRT stations as it took to build an entire subway line from City Hall to 145th Street?