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Second Avenue Subway May Still Be Delayed Despite Extra Funds, MTA Says

By  Shaye Weaver and Nikhita Venugopal | April 18, 2016 4:46pm 

 The Second Avenue Subway's 72nd Street cavern as of Jan. 21.
The Second Avenue Subway's 72nd Street cavern as of Jan. 21.
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MTA Capital Construction/Rehema Trimiew

UPPER EAST SIDE — No matter how much money the MTA throws at it, construction of the Second Avenue Subway may be delayed again.

Despite having funneled $66 million more to the project in February in hopes of completing the Second Avenue subway on time, it still might not open by the December deadline, according to the MTA's independent engineering consultant.

Contractors say they're only on schedule for 70 percent of the milestones that the MTA set in March after it voted to use its contingency funds to keep the project on track, according to the project's independent engineer.

MTA officials said during Monday's transit and bus committee meeting that work at the 72nd Street Station is "falling behind" and late design changes made last month may throw off the scheduled completion of testing.

MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu blamed the project's contractor Judlau for the delay, which involves installing elevators, heating and air system and vent fans at the station.

"[The] 72nd Street station is one that we have the most issues with at this point," he said, adding that the MTA is holding regular meetings with Judlau and is monitoring its progress.

Transit staff are straining to meet the deadline, officials said. As of now, the MTA only has three to four months to test the equipment at each station, while they were originally allotted 10 months for the testing, officials said.

Crews are delayed by a few weeks with elevator and escalator installations at East 86th Street and East 96th Street stations as well, but those delays won't have an impact on the scheduled completion date, officials said.

Judlau has previously worked with the MTA on other projects, including the rehabilitation of the Culver Line Viaduct, which carries the F and G trains over the Gowanus Canal. 

Despite the concerns expressed during the agency's transit committee meeting, a spokesman for the MTA said in an email on Monday that the agency is still planning to open the Second Avenue Subway in December.

Construction of the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway project began in 2007 with the goal of connecting the Q line to the Lexington/63rd Street station, and provide service from East 63rd to East 96th streets along Second Avenue.