By Philip Newman
Transit officials have awarded the contract for construction of the $400 million-plus concourse more than 100 feet below Grand Central Terminal where Long Island Rail Road trains will for the first time arrive on Manhattan’s East Side.
The gigantic project is a major part of the East Side Access and will give the public a close look at the building of the gargantuan project.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it had awarded a contract to GCT Constructors, JV, a joint venture consisting of Schiavone Construction Co and John P. Picone Inc. The MTA said the $404.8 million contract could increase to a total of $428.9 million and was awarded after a competitive request for proposal process that drew nine other firms.
Money for the concourse will come from a federal grant through the Federal Transit Administration and MTA local funds.
Workers will build architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical facilities, escalators and elevators which will comprise the LIRR’s 375,000-square-foot passenger train concourse and related ventilation plants at 44th and 50th Streets.
The project also includes the building of 17 deep escalators at 45th, 46th, 47th and 48th Streets and installing elevators connecting the LIRR passenger concourse to the train station caverns 140 feet below Park Avenue. The work entails the installation of emergency stairs and the associated architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical finishes and equipment.
The project will connect the LIRR Concourse with the Grand Central Terminal’s lower level dining concourse, the Biltmore Room, the 47th Street Cross Passageway and the 46th Street Passageway.
“Up to this point, East Side Access work at Grand Central Terminal has been largely unseen by the public,” said Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.
“This contract finally brings the construction from 140 feet below ground up to the dining concourse at GCT and in other places where the public will finally start to see what’s been going on right underneath their feet.”
The East Side Access will bring trains from all 11 branches of the Long Island Rail Road into a new terminal and shorten travel time for LIRR and eastern Queens commuters traveling to the East Side of Manhattan and provide easier access to John F. Kennedy airport by bringing riders to Jamaica station where they can transfer to the AirTrain.
The East Side Access is now estimated to be completed in December 2022 at a cost of $10.177 billion.
“This word class project will be an economic game changers for New York City and Long Island,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “There is no other transit infrastructure project in the United States that is as complex as East Side Access or carries as much economic promise for the region it will serve.”