10 facts about the Second Avenue Subway

second avenue subway 3
The Second Avenue Subway’s 86th Street caverns last month.
Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin

Decades ago, the Great Depression scuttled the first plans for a new subway line on Manhattan’s East Side.

Today, the first portion of the Second Avenue Subway is about two-thirds complete.

Metro took a tour in a portion of the line’s tunnel on Thursday with Michael Horodniceanu, president of Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction. He showed off progress on the project’s first phase and shared some facts about the new line.

Here are 10 things we learned about the Second Avenue Subway:

1. The first phase of the project includes three new stations, plus a connection at Lexington Avenue/63rd Street.

second avenue subway
Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway project includes three new stations.
Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in December 2016, and will serve some 200,000 riders daily. When the whole project is complete, the line will stretch 8.5 miles along the East Side, from 125th Street to Hanover Square in Manhattan. Sixteen new stations will be built.

2. The MTA says the first phase will come in under budget.

About $4.45 billion was budgeted for the project. Horodniceanu said the cost of Phase One will be “well within” that budget. There’s still no completion date or cost for the entire project.

3. Q trains will service the line after the first phase is completed.

It’s still unclear if Q trains will continue to run between the 63rd Street station in Manhattan to Astoria, Queens, once they begin to serve the new Second Avenue stations, Horodniceanu said.

4. A new train — the T — will run the length of the line eventually.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The T train, the symbol of which will be teal, is expected to have transfers to the G and D trains at Grand Street and the 4, 5 and 6 trains at 125th Street. The T is also expected to have transfers to the Q from 72nd Street to 125th Street. Transfers at 55th, 42nd, 14th and Houston streets are under evaluation.

5. The new line won’t have subway grates.

Air will instead be pumped out through ventilating towers. Horodniceanu said this will benefit both women in heels and the MTA, as the grates contribute to flooding during storms like Superstorm Sandy.

6. The tunnel walls have several layers plus “nipple” protection.

second avenue subway
The tunnel walls in the Second Avenue Subway have several layers.
Credit: Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin
The "nipples."
The “nipples.”

After a boring machine made the tunnel, a portion of which already existed when the project began, workers began lining the walls with several layers. The bedrock is covered with layers of shotcrete, felt, a yellow waterproofing liner and concrete mixed with plastic fibers. “Nipples” — small tubes that go through the layers — are also placed in small groups along the wall so that grout can be pumped in if water is detected.

7. The MTA increased the number of community outreach liaisons from one to four since the project started in an effort to ease tensions with nearby residents.

Regular informational meetings and public workshops are held. Members of the public can also take tours of the tunnels. Horodniceanu said those who take his tours become the line’s biggest defenders.

8. The new line is meant to ease congestion.

A crowded number 6 train pulls out of  the 51st Street Lexington Avenue station in Midtown.  Credit: Wendy Connett/flickr via Getty Images
A crowded 6 train pulls out of the 51st Street-Lexington Avenue station in Midtown.
Credit: Wendy Connett/flickr via Getty Images

Roughly 1.5 million passengers are carried on the 4/5/6 subway line every day — about a third of the entire system’s ridership, according to Horodniceanu. When the first phase is completed, the MTA predicts the Lexington Avenue line will have about 13 percent fewer riders.

9. The new tunnels are deeper than older lines.

Most of the first subway lines, built at the beginning of the last century, are roughly 30 feet deep. The new line ranges from about 100 to 130 feet deep.

10. There isn’t a rat problem in the tunnels … yet.

Horodniceanu said the construction sites haven’t had any rat problems, mostly because the vermin go where people go. “If there’s no food, rats done come out,” he said.

Check out this video of the tunnel in progress:

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

National

BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson fired for plagiarism

The news and entertainment website BuzzFeed has fired the writer Benny Johnson after its editors said they found he plagiarized others' work 41 times.

National

Pregnant Florida woman shot, killed looking over friend's…

A 25-year-old pregnant Florida woman died after being shot in the head while she visited a friend who was showing off his gun collection, police said.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

NBA

LeBron James will return to No. 23 in…

LeBron James is doing his old fans, if not the NBA, a favor. The Cavaliers forward will go back to his old No. 23 from…

Sports

Kevin Love becomes third NBA player to pull…

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves became the third NBA player to withdraw from consideration for Team USA in next month's World Cup, USA Basketball.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

Style

Cara Delevingne's major fashion faux-pas

Find out why the outfit Cara Delevingne wore to Leonardo DiCaprio's charity gala raised eyebrows.

Food

Strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwiches

Make this ice cream sandwich all summer long.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.