UPPER EAST SIDE — There are still 300 tests to complete on the Second Avenue Subway before the line can open, but at the rate the MTA's going, they won't be done in time, according to a consultant for the MTA.
Testing of the line's systems is lagging behind, and so is the completion of two subway stations at 72nd and 86th streets — set backs that could affect the opening date of the entire line, according to Kent Haggas, an independent engineer working on the project.
"We're going to keep the pressure on for the appropriate reasons by Dec. 31, but there isn't a person in the MTACC or on the operations side of the house that wants to rush it when it's not not there," said MTA board chairman Tom Prendergast during a presentation at an MTA board meeting on Monday.
Board member Andrew Albert agreed.
"There is great pressure to get this done by the end of year and it would be wonderful to get it done and open when we said it would be open, but if issues are identified and it's a better project because it went three to four weeks later, that's something that is easily explained," Albert said.
The third rail along the line has already been turned on, but testing of the line's major systems, including fire and smoke alarms, escalators, elevators, ventilation and air conditions, has not been completed yet, Haggas said.
The remaining tests are expected to be done in phases, starting as soon as Friday and running through as late as Nov. 15, according to an MTA spokesman.
But up until now the number of tests completed each week ranged from eight to 10 per week, when the pace should be more at 25 per week to finish by mid-December, Haggas said.
"The test program is not meeting the completion rate required to finish the testing of all key systems needed for a for a start of revenue service in December. We have about 300 left to go and about 12 weeks to make it," Haggas said. "It's our number one concern."
Work on mechanical and electrical equipment for elevators and escalators at the 86th Street station also need to be moving faster, Haggas said.
And the 72nd Street station is "a long-time critical component of the completion of the project," but its elevators and escalators remain unfinished and still needs to be integrated into the station's fire alarm system, according to Haggas.
"This will probably be the last major activity of the project," he said. "I see no improvement in the schedule for that equipment. It's still going to be just in time."