HELL'S KITCHEN — The federal Department of Transportation will give $185 million to help build high-speed trains between Manhattan and Newark before the West Side Rail Yards are covered by the Hudson Yards development.
The cash will allow Amtrak to build an 800-foot long concrete tunnel box between 10th and 11th Avenues, the first step in building flood-resistant, high-speed rail tunnels underneath the Hudson.
The concrete tunnels will preserve the right-of-way for two train tunnels under Hudson Yards, which officials said would be a part of the Gateway Project, a proposal to build high-speed rail between Newark and Manhattan.
By freeing up the cash and starting development on the project now, the concrete casements will be built at the same time as the Related Companies and Oxford Properties' Hudson Yards development.
The development, which involves a massive construction project that will eventually cover the rail yards with a platform, would have blocked construction of the tunnel box had it been built before the box was.
According to federal officials, four of the six 103-year-old tunnels into Manhattan flooded during Hurricane Sandy, stopping Amtrak and NJ Transit service into the borough for five days.
"When Sandy flooded our tunnels it exposed a fatal flaw in our already maxed-out transit infrastructure and demonstrated beyond a doubt we needed a new flood-resistant train-tunnel into and out of Manhattan," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, who with other local elected officials fought to fund the tunnel in time.
"This project will build the gate in the ‘Gateway’ tunnel and secures the future of rail for New York City and all of the Northeast Corridor, making our rail infrastructure more efficient and much more flood resistant from storms like Sandy.”
Work on the tunnel box is expected to begin later this year.