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Second Avenue subway's December deadline imperiled

Testing is underway as workers complete infrastructure.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Getty

By the end of 2016, subway riders will be able to travel the Q trains up and down Second Avenue. But when the sun rises on Jan. 1, not everything on the line, which has been in the works since 2007 and cost $4.5 billion, will be polished and punctual. Some of the station stops won’t open and there is no telling when they will.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority maintains that the major work to be done is primarily the rigorous testing required to open the stations and trains to the public.

“There’s been no change in terms of when it’s expected to open, MTA spokesperson Beth De Falco told Metro. "Everything is still on target. What’s to be finished now is testing, running test trains, communications systems testing, fire testing.”

Although a newsletter provided to community members states that the project is “98 percent complete,” people close to the ground-work told Metro that there is a lot more than safety testing to fit into the last six weeks of 2016. The biggest thing is that an important station stop, 72nd Street, isn’t at all on schedule and that contractors there are not even attempting to hit the deadline.


“The elevators and escalators at 72nd Street are in bad shape,” a person close to the project said.

There will be no 72nd Street stop when the line opens because of the many things that still need to be finished there. It will be a “bypass station.”

The source said contractors aren't to blame for the delays. Work could have been finished six months ago if city transit authorities hadn't continually changed the plans, revising and correcting their mistakes.

They’ll be working around the clock, including on Thanksgiving and Christmas, to keep the government’s promise to New Yorkers to complete the project on deadline, he said.

More frustrated than the contractors is perhaps Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been doggedly pursuing the deadline set in 2009. When the project broke ground in 2007, the deadline was set for 2013, and then 2014. In 2008, they pushed it to 2015, and then in 2009 pushed it to its current due date.

“Two weeks ago Cuomo came in and threw a fit. He was not happy. He threw his hard hat down and stormed off,” said the source, who added that he wonders if the governor cares about the worker’s safety.

The governor's office declined to comment when asked to verify the account, but spokesman Jon Weinstein said “hiding behind the veil anonymity to lob unfounded accusations and crackpot conspiracy theories is not only misleading, it is downright shameful. So is allowing something like that to be printed in the first place.”

Another construction worker said that he doesn’t know how it will get done. “It will be a miracle. I always say, we’ll be screwing in the last screw when the first swiper comes through.”

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