NEW YORK'S GIANT TUNNELS
Expanding the Tunnels
A workman walks along a tunnel that leads into a massive, new underground terminal that’s being built beneath New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. The first expansion of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in over 100 years, the East Side Access project is the largest transportation project in the country, and will provide LIRR customers with a one-seat ride from Queens to a new station beneath Grand Central Terminal.
Boring Through Bedrock
Eventually, 32,000 linear feet ( 9750 meters) of new tunnels in Manhattan will be excavated from the existing 63rd Street Tunnel down to 37th Street, traveling below Park Avenue. This is being done with two hard-rock tunnel boring machines. Two soft-ground tunnel boring machines have also excavated 10,000 linear feet (3000 meters) of tunnels in Queens to connect the 63rd street Tunnel to the existing LIRR tracks in Sunnyside Queens. The LIRR is the largest commuter railroad in North America.
One of the hundreds of workers toiling deep beneath the heart of New York City pauses in one of the newly-completed single line tunnels. The East Side Access Project is a 8.24 billion dollar project and is the recipient of the largest federal funding grant to date.
Commuters heading to New York City’s East Side will save up to 40 minutes on their daily commute and those heading to Penn Station will enjoy a less crowded, more comfortable ride. When completed in September 2016, it will increase LIRR's capacity into Manhattan and significantly relieve congestion at Penn Station. In addition, it will save an estimated 160,000 LIRR customers traveling from Long Island and eastern Queens approximately 30 to 40 minutes of time every day by shortening their commutes to the east side of Manhattan.
A rock-drilling team works at the future site of the escalator bank that will connect a new Long Island Rail Road concourse to the main level of the terminal. The Project will include 46 escalators and 13 elevators.
Four Tunnel Complex
The excavation of two new station caverns is also underway far below Metro-North's lower level platform. The caverns will provide eight tracks to accommodate LIRR customers. Each cavern will have an upper and a lower platform which are connected by a mid-level mezzanine. From there, customers can travel up one of seventeen 91-foot (28 meter) escalators to the concourse level.
A crew prepares a mass of rock for an upcoming controlled dynamite explosion that will clear a crossover tunnel space. Construction also includes excavation and lining of the new escalator-ways and shafts in Madison Yard.