MTA and Midtown Manhattan Tuck in for 20-Year Infrastructure Project

Midtown, one of Manhattan’s most active and tumultuous neighborhoods in the area of Grand Central Station, will at last see much-needed infrastructure repairs beginning May of 2020. 

What has everyone talking is the size and breadth of the project, which is not projected to come to a close until 2040. While there is some concern regarding closures due to the construction both above and below ground, developers have assured that this will be done “a few blocks at a time” to keep obstructions to a minimum. Locals, especially those working and living along Park Avenue, will likely want to keep abreast of developments as they come and adjust their routines accordingly. 

The Basics of the Project

In total, the project has a budget of around $2 billion, before any considerations for inflation

This, over a period of two decades, is expected to cover a number of necessary repairs and updates. This will include:

  • Repairs to the MTA train shed. This is a matter that’s been under serious discussion for at least the last year. The two-story underground terminal for Grand Central’s Metro North cars has been victim to water damage from leaking water and salt. A major challenge in updating this beyond simple patches that delay a larger repair is that it sits directly under Park Avenue. Tishman Construction Corp is slated to handle phase one of this portion of the project.
  • The tunnels will be overhauled for connections to Grand Central. These are specifically those that run under Midtown East, including a 1.8 mile viaduct through Park Avenue. 
  • Bridge repairs. Bridges that support the thoroughfare’s side streets, running from East 45th and East 57th, will, at last, see some needed TLC. 

More details have yet to be released regarding what else this will entail, but readers can expect to see them unfold as groundbreaking approaches in the coming months. 

Besides 20 Years, What Will It Take to Finish? 

It’s difficult to predict where two decades of construction will go, in full, but while some are wringing their hands over the protracted timeline, it’s good news for developers and contractors. While it is doubtful that any one company or group of companies will helm every phase, it means 20 years of competitive bids and the potential for structured, steady work ahead for everyone involved. 

The train shed repairs, which is likely to be the most forthcoming of the different project phases, looks to be challenging in its own right in the number of different disciplines that may be called for. There’s talk of taking up parts of the road above, so demolition is likely. 

Repaving is likely only one small part of the kind of work that will need to be done with concrete, brick, and masonry both above and below ground. It is likely that addressing the tunnel and bridge repairs will come with similar issues, but it’s not just the stone that makes up these places. Electrical, plumbing, drainage, and track will also come into the equation. 

Whatever the case, keep a weather eye out for new developments for the foreseeable future.

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