After about seven decades of wishful thinking, the LIRR Third Track became a reality as Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially broke ground on the $2.6 billon expansion Wednesday on Long Island.
The Third Track initiative consists of 50 projects that will modernize 9.8 miles along the railroad’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville. The work is expected to be “substantially” completed by the end of 2022, the MTA said.
“Since the 1940s, people talked about adding a third track and modernizing the Main Line corridor — and now we’re actually doing it,” Cuomo said. “These projects taken together will create smoother and more reliable service for LIRR passengers while at the same time improving public safety by eliminating dangerous grade crossings. The LIRR is the backbone of the region’s economy, and this expansion effort will boost growth for generations.”
Added Assemblyman Michael Montesano, “Commuters can rest easy knowing delays and cancellations will be decreasing and safety will be increasing.”
What LIRR Third Track work will entail
Forty percent of passengers travel through the Main Line, which is the most congested portion of the LIRR.
The forthcoming Third Track work will consist of 50 projects that include constructing a third track, improving stations, modernizing track and signal infrastructure and adding 7.5 miles of sound-reduction walls
Additionally, the project will remove the Main Line corridor’s seven street-level grade crossings at Covert Avenue, South 12th Street, New Hyde Park Road, Main Street, Willis Avenue, Urban Avenue and School Street.
Seven bridges will also be replaced and modified, and they are the South Tyson Avenue Bridge, Plainfield Avenue Bridge, Tanners Pond Road/Denton Avenue Bridge, Glen Cove Road Bridge, Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge and Cherry Lane Bridge.
Five LIRR stations — New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place and Westbury — will be improved. ADA-compliant elevators will be added to the Floral Park station as well.