Second Avenue Subway Earns a 'B' on Report Card

By Tom Liddy on September 24, 2011 6:09pm 

A t-shirt from the T-train, the eventual name of the Second Avenue subway line.
A t-shirt from the T-train, the eventual name of the Second Avenue subway line.
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New York Transit Museum Store via Twitter

MANHATTAN — There's light at the end of the tunnel for the Second Avenue Subway, according to a report card that shows the progress of the mega-public works project.

The project earned an overall grade of 'B' this year, holding steady from 2010, according to the report, issued by the office of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

One of the most notable achievements came this past Thursday when the massive Tunnel Boring Machine broke through the bedrock at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue, completing the tunnels for the Q train extension.

"The MTA finished digging all the tunnels for the Second Avenue Subway this week — a huge breakthrough for the project and for our mass transit system," said Maloney.

That project was finished six months ahead of schedule after the TBM originally launched on May 14, 2010, according to the report.

The document lauded the project's creation of jobs as well as the nearly $80 million in federal money it qualified for in 2010.

But it took issue with the timetable for completion, environmental problems created by construction for residents and businesses and the aesthetics of the new station entrances.

The Second Avenue Subway scored an 'A+' for the overall merit of the project as well as the economic benefits, including the creation of 16,000 jobs, the report said.

But it took home a 'C-' for mitigating construction impact, with the report citing dust clouds at 72nd Street as well as blasting noise and sanitation problems such as rats.

"Construction impact continues to be the most negative aspect of the project," the report said.

"While the MTA's efforts to meet with and address the concerns of businesses and residents are welcome, the bottom line is that construction impacts remain a heavy burden for people who live, work or own businesses in the community."

Overall, however, the MTA "has made real progress since last year, completing tunneling, relocating residents and businesses to allow construction of station entrances and ancillary facilities, starting demolition of buildings and moving forward with construction at all four tunnel entrances" the report said.

Once completed, the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, expected to be completed in December 2016, will include stops at 96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street. At 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue, it will link up with the Q line.

The full two-track line, to be completed in four phases, will eventually extend from 125th Street to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan and be called the T-train.

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