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Massive Tunnel Boring Machines Arrive for Second Avenue Subway

By Patrick Hedlund | April 23, 2010 3:49pm | Updated on April 23, 2010 3:48pm

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — Dig it: A massive boring machine was lowered into a pit on the Upper East Side this week to begin excavating thousands of feet of tunnels for the Second Avenue subway project, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced.

The machine’s 200-ton cutter head — which uses 44 rotating discs to mine through tons of underground rock — arrived at the project’s “launch box” between 96th and 92nd streets on Second Avenue on Wednesday.

The entire, 450-foot-long Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will drill nearly a mile and a half of the new two-track line’s western tunnel beginning in May, the MTA stated.

"The arrival this week of the TBM at Second Avenue is a clear indicator that the MTA is delivering on a major expansion project that will have a dramatic impact on Manhattan's East Side easing overcrowding within our transit system and serving as an economic driver for the region as a whole," said Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction, in a statement.

The four-block-long launch box, which forms the shell of the future 96th Street Station, was excavated last year by removing 117,000 cubic yards of rock and soil. 

Phase I of the Second Avenue subway line, from 96th to 63rd streets, is expected to be completed in late 2016, according to the MTA.