FAQ Follow On:Twitter Google+ Facebook Tumblr subscribe by RSS or Email

The Tunnels of NYC's East Side Access Project

|

A huge public works project is currently under construction in New York City, connecting Long Island to Manhattan's East Side. Deep underground, rail tunnels are extending from Sunnyside, Queens, to a new Long Island Rail Road terminal being excavated beneath Grand Central Terminal. Construction began in 2007, with an estimated cost of $6.3 billion and completion date of 2013. Since then, the cost estimate has been raised to $8.4 billion, and the completion date moved back to 2019. When finished, the line will accommodate 24 trains per hour at peak traffic, cutting down on commute times from Long Island, and opening up access to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Manhattan's East Side. Collected here are images of the progress to date, deep beneath Queens and Manhattan. [33 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose:
This photo shows work as of February 12, 2013, on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal that will house a future concourse for arriving and departing Long Island Rail Road trains. The entire project is slated to be complete in 2019. (MTA/Patrick Cashin)
This photo shows work as of February 12, 2013, on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal that will house a future concourse for arriving and departing Long Island Rail Road trains. The entire project is slated to be complete in 2019. (MTA/Patrick Cashin)
The launch of the East Side Access Project tunnel boring machine, on March 18, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Close view of the cutting surface of the tunnel boring machine, on March 18, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
An overhead view of the construction pit and tunnel access chamber, in Sunnyside, Queens, near Queens Plaza station. At lower left is the muck staging area for material removed while tunneling. See this view on Google Maps. (© Google, Inc.) #
The interior of part of the tunnel boring machine, in Sunnyside, Queens, on May 5, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Construction underway in Manhattan, on May 5, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work underway on one of the most challenging parts of the entire project -- excavating a tunnel under Northern Boulevard, while simultaneously supporting the overhead roadway, the overhead underground subway, and the elevated subway. To ensure stability, the tunnel was excavated in seven separate horizontal segments, or "drifts." And because the ground is soft at this site and difficult to control during excavation, it was frozen to allow for increased control and rigidity. Workers had to drive a new set of foundation pilings into the ground to temporarily support the elevated structure during construction. They then jacked up the line a fraction of an inch to shift the weight to the temporary supports, which you can see running vertically through the newly built tunnel. Those supports will be removed after the weight of the elevated subway is shifted back to the walls of the tunnel, which has been engineered to carry the load. Photographed on December 20, 2012. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
The progress of the East Side Access construction in Long Island City, Queens, as of December 20, 2012. This photo shows an overview of the site, between Northern Boulevard and the Sunnyside Rail Yard. The horizontal beams are supporting a large construction pit. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work underway on a tunnel under Northern Boulevard. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Photograph from a January 25, 2012 update on the East Side Access Project. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
The project will connect the Long Island Rail Road with a new concourse underneath Grand Central Terminal. This photo shows construction underway on September 19, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Photograph from a January 25, 2012 update on the East Side Access Project. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Contractors work on the East Side Access project beneath midtown Manhattan, on January 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #
A tunnel for a future escalator bank, under construction in Manhattan, on May 5, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Muck and rock being removed from a tunnel, on January 25, 2012. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal that will house a future concourse for arriving and departing Long Island Rail Road trains, photographed on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
A January 25, 2012 view of the tunnel access chamber. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Looking east from underneath Northern Boulevard, this photo shows what will be a track bed leading toward four newly excavated tunnels underneath Sunnyside Yard, on December 20, 2012. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Construction underway in Manhattan, on May 5, 2011. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Operating Engineer Patricia McQuillia operates a locomotive carrying workers and reporters from the Tunnel Boring Machine below Second Avenue and 63rd St., on November 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #
A tunnel that leads into new caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
A future escalator bank connecting a new Long Island Rail Road concourse to the main level of the terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
This photo shows work on the caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal that will house a future concourse for arriving and departing Long Island Rail Road trains, on February 12, 2013. Eight tunnels will allow trains to reach four platforms in two adjacent caverns. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
This photo shows work on the caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal that will house a future concourse for arriving and departing Long Island Rail Road trains, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on tunnels leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
Work on the caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
A tunnel that leads into new caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #
A workman walks through a tunnel leading into caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal, on February 12, 2013. (MTA/Patrick Cashin) #

Related links and information

Previous gallery | Next gallery | View All Back to top

Recent Entries

Join the Discussion

blog comments powered by Disqus

On Newsstands Now

Subscribe and SAVE 65%
10 issues JUST $2.45/COPY