By Ben Fractenberg
MIDTOWN WEST — Two 1,000-ton boring machines busted through the granite beneath Port Authority just after 4 p.m. Thursday, completing the tunnel for the planned 7 subway line extension.
The city hopes construction of the new subway line from Times Square to 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue will spur development around Hudson Yards, a huge complex of retail outlets and housing.
“On time and on budget, with no serious injuries or deaths, the tunnel bored from one end to the other,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference following the breakthrough at Port Authority. “This moment will help us realize the full potential of the west side.”
Bloomberg also said the construction of a second proposed subway stop at 41st Street and Tenth Avenue was very much in doubt.
“We don’t have the money,” said Bloomberg. “This is done with the city tax payer’s money and this is all we can afford.”
The city hopes the west side will become an economic hub with a mix of commercial, residential, retail and recreational space.
“The subway comes and development follows,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Jay Walder.
The $2.1 billion project is being funded by the city and is set for completion by 2013.