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MTA Awards Contracts for East Side Access Manhattan Tunnels and Caverns and Releases Two New YouTube Videos

East Side Access progress
East Side Access Project progress as of March 3, 2014. Ending walk through created by tunnel boring machine. Photo: MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
East Side Access, the transportation megaproject that is connecting  Long Island Railroad customers to Grand Central Terminal, is making major advancements as the MTA announced today that it has awarded two new contracts.
The contracts valued at $627.79 million to contractors who will line more than 10,000 linear feet of newly excavated tunnels with permanent structural concrete walls, and install complex communications systems in Grand Central Terminal’s future LIRR concourse. 
And, the MTA has released two new YouTube videos. One shows recent blasting underneath the 55th Street ventilation facility that was necessary in order to proceed with the concrete work. The other is a time-lapse showing recent work on the Queens side of the project 
One of the contracts, valued at $294.2 million has been awarded to Frontier-Kemper Constructors, to build permanent structural concrete lining, including embedded mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, on the newly excavated tunnels north of Grand Central Terminal, running from 50th Street and Park Avenue to 63rd Street and Second Avenue. Frontier-Kemper will also rehabilitate the segment of the 63rd Street Tunnel under the East River that will be used by LIRR trains, which was completed in the early 1970s. And the firm will complete work on the underground portions of two facilities, located at 50th Street and 55th Street, that will ventilate the tunnels and Cavern which will house the new LIRR station at Grand Central. The above-ground portion of the 50th Street ventilation facility has recently been completed.
“The work to be performed through these contracts will significantly advance East Side Access, the most complex and largest transportation infrastructure project underway in North America,” said Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction. “Tunnels that have been drilled through Manhattan bedrock will be waterproofed and lined with concrete and readied for tracks. A cavern that is presently a raw concrete space will be activated with advanced communications networks that will be used by tens of thousands of people each day. When Long Island Rail Road riders come to Grand Central, the systems that will be put in place through these contracts will serve as an unseen backbone making train service possible.”
The other contract, worth $333.59 million (with options leading to a total of $550.4 million), has been awarded to Tutor Perini Corporation to complete communications systems that will be used by the public and employees in the future LIRR concourse, and infrastructure support systems needed to make the space usable by the public. The communications systems including telephone, two-way radio, public address, digital signage, and fire detection. The infrastructure support systems include tunnel ventilation, tunnel drainage, tunnel lighting, plumbing and fire protection.
The East Side Access project will bring trains from all 11 branches of the Long Island Rail Road into a new concourse being built beneath Grand Central Terminal. The new connection will increase the LIRR’s capacity into Manhattan, and dramatically shorten travel time for Long Island and eastern Queens commuters traveling to the east side of Manhattan.  Each cavern will contain four tracks, an upper and lower level platform, and a mezzanine. 
East Access Project YouTube Video Links
Blasting underneath 55th Street ventilation facilty: http://youtu.be/jIxBauFYRyk
Time lapse showing recent work on Queens side: http://youtu.be/wJl-rsSh-tY