Although the opening of the MTA’s first new subway station in over 20 years still seems as though it is a ways away, December 2013 will get here sooner than we realize. To that end, the MTA announced today that work on the final contract for the 7 line extension will begin this month. The contract — a $513.7 million deal awarded this summer to a joint venture of Skanska USA and the RailWorks Corp — will be funded through the Hudson Yards Development Corporation.
Essentially, this contract is for the finishes for the one-stop, $2.1-billion subway extension. Under it, contractors will lay tracks and build the signal systems and third rail. They will add numerous pieces to the infrastructure of the new station at 34th Street and 11th Ave., including escalators and elevators, power systems, lighting, plumbing, heating, ventilation and even air conditioning. “This award marks a major milestone as we continue to make progress on the construction of the 7 extension project,” Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction, said in a statement. “With the award of this contract, we’re one step closer to opening up the Far West Side of Manhattan to major, transit-oriented economic growth.”
Unfortunately, though, with this contract comes the death of a barely-alive dream. For now, the 7 line extension will be just one stop from Times Square to 34th and 11th Ave. While not quite a subway to nowhere, this expensive expansion will not stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave. Contractors who built the tunnels made sure to grade the path at that location to allow future construction, but neither a shell nor carved-out walls will be in place. Any effort to right this transportation planning oversight will carry a significant cost. Still, the finish line for the 7 line extension is now in sight.