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New $60M contract will bring delayed East Side Access closer to completion

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The project is now aiming for a 2022 completion date

The interior of a large station with many people. The ceilings are covered in a green mural of stars. The walls are yellow and lit with bright light. Shutterstock

It’s been a while since we’ve had any updates on the MTA’s ambitious East Side Access project, a plan that seeks to connect Long Island Railroad (LIRR) trains with Grand Central Terminal. In 2014, it was announced that the project’s completion would be delayed until at least 2023—14 years later than initially planned— and would come at a cost of $10.8 billion, which is $6.5 billion over its initial budget estimate. But it appears that the MTA is looking to make progress on the project and bump up its completion date.

In October, Skanska was awarded a $60.2 million contract by the MTA to begin construction on a new tunnel for the project this spring. The firm will be responsible for excavating 20,000 cubic yards of soil to make room for the 800-foot tunnel that it will build, and ultimately connect to the LIRR’s network of tunnels. The contract also contains two additional options to install new tracks and switches. During the excavation, temporary supports for the nearby 39th Street Bridge will need to installed.

Skanska is aiming to wrap up construction by mid-2021 and hopes that LIRR service will begin service to Grand Central Terminal by the end of 2022.