NEW York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has opened bidding for the first construction contract for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway, the 2.4km Q train service extension from 96th Street north to 125 Street and then west on 125th Street to Park Avenue.

MTA says the scope of work incorporates lessons learned from Phase 1, which opened on January 1 2017, and will involve utility relocation; temporary streetscape modifications that will be required during construction, including new bike lanes on Second Avenue; and building remediation in preparation for future contracts for a new subway station at 106th Street, one of two new stations to be added in Phase 2.

MTA says this work will lay the foundation for future station and system infrastructure construction.

The contract is expected to be awarded this autumn, with work beginning by the end of the year.

To help keep the cost of the project down, MTA says Phase 2 includes reuse of a 1970s-built tunnel segment from 110th Street to 120th Street along Second Avenue; early real estate acquisition; adoption of “best value” contract structures; reduction in “back-of-house” and ancillary space; and close coordination of contracts.

The second phase of the Second Avenue Subway project will feature two new accessible stations at 106th Street and 116th Street on Second Avenue, and a direct passenger connection with the existing 125th Street Subway station on the Lexington Avenue line. Phase 2 will also provide an entrance at Park Avenue to allow transfers to the Metro-North Railroad 125th Street Station.

Each new station will have above-ground ancillary buildings that house ventilation, mechanical, and electrical equipment, as well as space for possible ground-floor retail and community uses.

The project area has been a subway desert ever since the Second Avenue El stopped service above 57th Street in 1940. MTA says that the new extension will reduce crowding on the 4, 5 and 6 lines on Lexington Avenue.

MTA is finalising a funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the project and has ensured that federally required contingency is in place through a Capital Plan Amendment approved by the MTA board in late June, which is subject to approval by the MTA Capital Plan Review Board.

The project is also set to receive funding from a congestion pricing programme, which is expected to provide up to $US 15bn of funds for critical projects in MTA’s current capital programme, which includes Second Avenue Subway Phase 2.

“Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway is an investment in transit equity and a truly life changing project,” says MTA chair and CEO, Mr Janno Lieber said. “The East Harlem community has waited decades for it, and this expansion will serve over 100,000 riders daily, connecting Harlemites to jobs, education and opportunity throughout the region.”

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