Home 7 Line Extension Fulton St. to open June 26; West Side’s 7 line still targeting ‘fall’

Fulton St. to open June 26; West Side’s 7 line still targeting ‘fall’

by Benjamin Kabak

As time marches on and the subways enjoy record-setting crowds (more on that later), various capital construction deadlines are fast approaching. As we know, two megaprojects — the 7 line extension and the Fulton St. Transit Center — are due to wrap this year, after nearly seven years of construction. Due to the delays plaguing the escalators and elevators at the deep 34th St. station along 11th Ave., the Fulton St. ribbon-cutting has leap-frogged the 7 line. According to MTA Board documents released yesterday, Fulton St. will open to public on Thursday, June 26, 2014. Save the date.

Meanwhile, mitigation work and acceptance testing continues on the Far West Side, and the MTA is still committed to delivering the 7 line in the fall, nearly 11 months later than scheduled. For now, the official word is still “November,” but according to an engineering report contained within the MTA’s materials this week, that date could hit December if problems aren’t resolved. The winter solstice is December 21. So the MTA has three weeks in December in which it is still technically fall to deliver the project. Hold your breath.

Finally, over on the East Side, the Second Ave. Subway continues to be on pace for a December 2016 revenue start date, but the documents detail some slippage. Construction crews have burned through approximately half of the project’s planned contingency days, and a few delivery dates have been pushed back. Still, until we hear otherwise, December 2016 it is. That’s only 33 months away, and the real estate market is responding in turn.

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Winfield March 25, 2014 - 9:19 am

Is there an estimate as to how much extra it cost to do the 7 train extension and the 2nd avenue subway deeper underground? How much cheaper would standard cut and cover have been (additional ground-level impact aside)?

Bgriff March 25, 2014 - 10:19 am

A big part of the problem with doing cut-and-cover today that wasn’t such an issue 110 years ago is the number of utilities and other stuff running under the streets, some of which is disused and hard to keep track of. This plagues the MTA even for relatively simple jobs like installing station-to-street elevators. Not sure that cut and cover would be so much easier any more.

Winfield March 25, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Weren’t all gas, water, and electrical lines underground by the time the subway was built? I know most gas lines were (they keep exploding because of age) and water mains were (same issues as gas lines), and after the 1888 blizzard, the city pushed all electrical underground.

There could be engineering issues with the 7 train and the Penn Station tunnels/Lincoln tunnel, requiring it to be lower. But 2nd Ave has none of that in the construction zone.

D. Graham March 25, 2014 - 9:46 pm

Even in NYC in the early days of the subways some utilities were above ground, but now are under and even then the network of utilities underground weren’t as numerous. In either case, the cost for cut and cover would likely amount to the same. In many cases cut and cover requires a slurry wall installation to hold back what’s not being removed. In the case of 2nd Avenue this would have been the case at many locations where ground freezing was used prior to sending the TBM through soft territory.

BoerumHillScott March 25, 2014 - 10:46 am

7 had to be somewhat deep to clear all the other tunnels in the area, and going right below the other tunnels would have generated big cost shoring them up.

SAS Phase 1 had to be deep at the south end to match up with the deep 63rd street tunnel. The north end is not very deep, matching up with the work done prior.

I think in both cases, a large part of the lines would have been deep enough for cut and cover to be just as expensive, even without calculating utility relocations.

John-2 March 25, 2014 - 6:17 pm

If they ever get around to Phase II of the SAS from 96th to 125th, they will have to do at least a little bit of cut-and-cover to connect the two 1970s-era segments. Then it would be interesting to see the segment costs for that, versus a similar length of deep bore tunnel.

Nathanael March 26, 2014 - 2:05 pm

There are going to be stations in each of those spots between the existing 1970s-era tunnels, so it won’t really give comparable numbers for *tunneling*.

Cut-and-cover stations are a lot cheaper than deep bore stations.

It’s generally thought that in most geologies (not Seattle!) deep-bore tunnels are cheaper than cut-and-cover tunnels. But that’s without stations.

pete March 25, 2014 - 5:00 pm

C&C would be cheaper than buying a TBM. Then Uncle Joe and Uncle Tommy with an excavator and wheelbarrow who yesterday were building Fedders Specials can bid on the project and the mob/civil engineering corporations (Judlau, Skanska, Cruz) would be out of a job.

John-2 March 25, 2014 - 9:34 am

The main SAS concern about ‘clearance issues’ in the section north of 96th Street sounds as though it may not be a problem with the current construction, but a defect in the design of the work done by the MTA 40 years ago that was never discovered, because the 1970s SAS work never got to the point where track was laid down. So they almost deserve a Mulligan on this one, if the tail track fix knocks the start-up date back a bit.

(As for the 7, I’m hoping they hit the November date and run the Train of Many Colors as a Flushing Line holiday special to mark the occasion — apparently, the MTA is already planning to re-paint one set of R-36 WF cars in their original blue-and-white livery to mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the cars’ official coming-out, which is set for Easter weekend.)

BruceNY March 25, 2014 - 11:55 pm

I can’t wait to see those R36’s again, and in the best paint scheme that New York City ever had!

Jerrold March 25, 2014 - 9:57 am

I remember so well riding on those World’s Fair “Super-Express” trains on weekends in 1964. It was Times Sq., 5th Ave., Grand Central, and next stop – World’s Fair.

anon_coward March 25, 2014 - 10:01 am

for the 7 train, i don’t know about the station but it seems like they are finally finishing up that giant fan or electric station or whatever at 11 and 26th

Phantom March 25, 2014 - 4:36 pm

It will be really good to have Fulton Transit Center open soon now.

It didn’t seem as though they were in any big hurry to finish it, but I guess you can only milk a project for so long.

Dave P NYC May 27, 2014 - 11:20 am

30 days and counting. Still a lot of ceiling and wall panels to be installed, and wires dangling all about. The bits I’ve been able to spy of the ground floor through open doors look like very active construction sites no where near completion. Would be inexcusable for the MTA board to forecast the opening 3 months prior to planned completion and then have it delayed AGAIN. If that is the case, someone needs to go back to project planning 101.

James G. June 17, 2014 - 8:35 am

Spoke with a worker at the Fulton Center last night (6/17). He said it will be more like 2-3 weeks before it opens and not June 26th. But he said that will include everything open, including the R connection to Cortlandt.

UES Sam June 18, 2014 - 10:21 am

C&C would be much more expensive than TBM given the potential to encounter archaeology, like what happened down at South Ferry. Not just the $ to get the archaeology out of the way, but add in the $ for construction crew down time. As most projects are moving to design-build, you lose the ability to evaluate in advance of construction to determine if there are any archaeological sites in the way before the construction crews are onsite and ready to go.

Dave P NYC June 18, 2014 - 7:00 pm

Glad to hear the Dey St passage will open too. Last I read, that wouldnt open until the WTC transit hub was done. Thought was there would be so little foot traffic between Cortland and Fulton that it would be a magnet to homeless. Glad to hear they rethought that.


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