Every now and then, an MTA press release tickles my funny bone. Earlier this week, eight days after announcing that the East Side Access project would not open until August of 2019, the authority trumpeted its progress. A part of East Side Access is ahead of schedule! Rejoice!
The news concerned some tunneling. Boring for the third of four East Side Access tunnels wrapped up after just nine weeks — seven weeks earlier than planned. The machine, nicknamed TESS, dug for 2200 feet and installed 441 precast, segmented concrete rings as it excavated 875,169 cubic feet of soft soil. “The completion of this tunnel is another reminder that we continue to make tangible and significant progress on this project every day,” Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction, said of a project that still has seven years to go.
At least MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota offered up some measure of perspective on this saga. “Each piece of the project that we bring in ahead of schedule means we can dedicate resources to those parts of the project that most need attention,” he said.