By Tara Kyle
HELL'S KITCHEN — While most of the city will likely wait years for cellular and WiFi service on subway platforms, straphangers in Chelsea will be text-ready first.
A lawyer for Transit Wireless, the company which initially gained approval for the project in 2007, came before Community Board 4's Transportation committee Thursday night.
The firm went to the meeting to get approval to begin construction on their pilot project, slated for six neighborhood stops. The lucky stations are the L train stops at 14th Street and Sixth and Eighth Avenues, the 14th St. A/C/E and 1/2/3 stops, and the C/E station at 23rd and Eighth.
The construction work will entail laying fibers underneath sections of the street at each subway station, according to lawyer Ken Fisher, of the firm Cozen O'Connor. The process will take between 12 and 14 days in total — three days of construction at each intersection — and will likely involve overnight street closures.
Transit Wireless had previously committed to outfitting these stations by mid-2012, but a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transit Authority said Thursday that the company had indicated they are ahead of schedule.
CB4's committee voted to support the construction on a few conditions, including that Transit Wireless confirm that the program had been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security.
Platforms across the rest of the city will get outfitted with WiFi and cellular service within the next six years.