FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The head of the MTA still expects the Second Avenue Subway is on track to open within the next 19 days.
"We're cautiously optimistic we're going to meet the deadline," MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said at a monthly briefing on the project Monday.
"We've more than doubled the level of effort. That's as clear as I can state it."
The MTA program executive and the independent engineer overseeing the project also both said the line was on track to be finished before the end of the month.
In prior meetings, overseer Kent Haggas stressed the need to increase the rate of testing of the various systems involved in the new subway line and stations, from the escalators to the smoke alarms.
On Monday, Haggas said the "rate of test completions has been increased greatly," specifying in his report that it has more than doubled over the last few weeks.
But, according to his report, some systems — including the public address system — won't be completed until Christmas Eve.
Several other tests are scheduled for Dec. 16, including the street-level escalator at the 72nd Street station, the fire alarm at the 63rd Street station and the system for radioing the police at the 72nd, 86th and 96th Street stations.
MTA Board Member Veronica Vanterpool asked if there's a possibility that the line will have to skip certain stations when it opened, and did not receive a clear answer.
Prendergast noted that the transit authority must also "do as much as we can to restore Second Avenue to the condition it was in before we started, which was quite a few years ago."
The MTA did not provide an actual target date for opening the line, though a spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted a reference to Jan. 1 instead of Dec. 31.
Sunday afternoon meeting & briefing w 2nd Ave Subway contractors on 86th Street...it's now a 24/7 push for Jan 1 deadline pic.twitter.com/SppTCo2lDQ— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) December 11, 2016