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MTA completes 16 new tunnels for three city projects

By Philip Newman

Workers building the East Side Access to bring the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal have finished the last tunnel for the project.

In fact, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said they have now completed all tunnels for both the East Side Access and the Second Avenue subway.

A fleet of seven gigantic 200-ton tunnel boring machines had been grinding their way beneath the city since 2007 in work on the huge projects.

The MTA said 16 new tunnels stretching for 13 miles were required to build the East Side Access, Second Avenue subway and the extension of the No.7 subway line west of Times Square.

MTA officials said the final tunnel was finished beneath the LIRR Main Line in Long Island City at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

“Sixteen brand new, concrete-lined tunnels now exist under New York City where none did five years ago,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota.

Lhota said the MTA was en route to “realizing a long-held dream of connecting the LIRR to Grand Central.”

The East Side Access is now scheduled for completion in 2019 with the Second Avenue subway to be finished in 2016 and the No.7 extension due to be done in late 2014.

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