Sandhogs have decided that no more major blasting is needed under Grand Central Terminal where they are working on the East Side Access (ESA) project, says a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) spokeman. Since March 2007, joint venture contractors Dragado USA and Judlau Contracting have headed up a team of about 1,000 workers who toiled round the clock five days a week to complete more than 2,400 controlled blasts, MTA says.
The $8.76-billion ESA project, the nation's largest public transportation initiative, includes building two caverns 160 ft below grade at Grand Central to house eight tracks for Long Island Rail Road trains. About 857,000 cu. yds. of "rocky muck," enough to bury Central Park one ft. deep, have been removed to make way for new tunnels and caverns under Manhattan, MTA says. The Grand Central work has not disrupted the nearby MTA Metro-North Railroad or New York City subway operations, it adds.
"Much work remains to be done to build the platforms and tracks, and finish what is currently raw, cave-like space," Michael Horodniceanu, MTA Capital Construction president, said in an announcement yesterday, April 9. "But we now have a fully built shell in which all future work will take place."
The contractors will continue to perform concrete work until June when their contract expires. They may, however, need to make additional small blasts that will trim out pieces of rock in the cavern, the agency says.
The announcement follows a March 6 NYS comptroller report that blasted MTA for being $4.4 billion over its original budget and a decade late on the ESA project.
The agency had no comment on the report.