Subway station upgrades coming to Forest Hills and Jamaica

By Gabriel Rom

The 67th Avenue subway station in Forest Hills and the Parsons Boulevard stop in Jamaica are among 30 stations citywide to be completely renovated, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced. The upgrades, which will be covered by the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program, will be constructed through a “design-build process,” which Cuomo said will cut work time by half.

The MTA has not yet announced when the Forest Hills and Jamaica stations will close for upgrades or for how long, but work on all the stations is estimated to be completed by 2020.

“The bottom line is we don’t know anything,” said Michael Cohen a spokesman for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).

The renovations will close off the 67th Avenue station (on the M and R lines) and the Parsons Boulevard stop (on the F line), each for six months to a year, according to the MTA. They are part of a citywide effort to modernize the subway system and make it more “millenial friendly,” according to Cuomo.

Four Astoria subway stations will also close for several months as part of the plan.

Elected officials applauded Cuomo’s plan.

“What is there not to be happy with a modernization of a station,” Cohen said.

Design-build projects have found success in Queens. In May, Swedish construction giant Skanska in a joint venture with the firms of Kiewit and ECCO III, along with lead design firm HNTB, was awarded a $555 million design-build contract with the state Department of Transportation for the reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge. The project was considered an ideal candidate for design-build, which combines the design and the construction phases of a project and bundles them into a single contract. City agencies, however, have, until recently, been unable to use design-build projects because of political wrangling in Albany.

The MTA said it will use design-build procurement to deliver the subway station projects more quickly, at a lower cost and with better quality, as a single contractor will be held accountable for cost, schedule and performance.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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