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PR- 314-10
July 15, 2010


1,000-Ton Tunnel Boring Machine Breaks Through Cavern Wall, Completing the Tunneling for Extension from Times Square to Hudson Yards

City-funded $2.1 Billion Infrastructure Project is First Subway Expansion in Decades

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and other officials today announced the completion of the tunnel mining for the extension of the Number 7 subway from 42nd Street and 7th Avenue at Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue in the Hudson Yards area in Midtown West Manhattan. The $2.1 billion project, funded by the City and managed by the MTA, is the first subway expansion in decades, creating nearly 500 construction jobs. In June 2009, tunnel boring machines began drilling the two new subway tunnels starting at what will be the train storage section at 26th Street and 11th Avenue. Today, the last machine broke through the cavern wall underneath 41st Street and 8th Avenue, completing the more than 9,300 feet of mining. The subway extension, on track to be completed at the end of 2013, will help transform the Hudson Yards vicinity into a vibrant 24-hour neighborhood, containing a mix of commercial, residential, retail, open space and recreational uses. Joining Mayor Bloomberg for the announcement, held at the cavern site underneath 41st Street and 8th Avenue, were Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Hudson Yards Development Corporation President Ann Weisbrod and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward.

"For decades, people have talked about the Hudson Yards on Manhattan's Far West Side as a potential opportunity to provide new office space, housing, parks and jobs adjacent to the world's premier business district, but nothing ever happened. We're acting to make sure that it does," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The extension of the number 7 subway line, combined with our rezoning and our investments in world-class open space, will attract major private sector interest and transform the underutilized Hudson Yards into a vibrant neighborhood that will fuel New York City's economy for the long-term economic growth."

"Today marks the final leg of the second of two, 1,000-ton tunnel boring machines that have mined more than a combined 9,300 feet to reach this point," said MTA Chairman Walder.  "It's a major milestone for a project that has been emblematic of the strong partnership between agencies to complete a project that will increase capacity within our transit system and help redevelop a vital part of our city that will spur future growth." 

"Today is a great day for the West Side and a great day for the future of New York City," said Speaker Quinn. "The completion of this tunnel is a critical step in positioning the West Side for responsible, long-term development. It's exciting to see the drilling work is done, and I'm particularly encouraged that Mayor Bloomberg has agreed to preserve the ability to build a second subway station as part of the extension of the Number 7 subway line. I want to thank the Mayor, MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder, Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward, and Hudson Yards Development Corporation President Ann Weisbrod for all their continued efforts and dedication."

"The completion of the 7-train extension tunnel is an exciting moment after many years of work and planning to bring the subway to the far West Side of Manhattan," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "This extension will render our aging infrastructure up-to-date with the needs of the neighborhood, while investing in local jobs and economic development on the West Side.  Congratulations to the MTA and the City on this important progress."

"The Port Authority has seen the rejuvenation of the West side over the past twenty years, and increased access to mass transit from the Number 7 subway extension will bring new residents, businesses and visitors to an underutilized area," said Port Authority of NY & NJ Executive Director Chris Ward. "A project of this magnitude underneath one of the world's largest bus terminals is not an easy task. Through interagency cooperation, we were able to shorten the construction time table for the extension and provide uninterrupted service for our over 200,000 daily customers at the Port Authority Bus Terminal."

The tunnel boring machines were launched in June 2009 from the underground assembly chamber located at 26th Street.  The first 300 feet of tunneling was complicated by a section of soft ground between 27th and 28th Streets that required a technique called "ground freeze" to reinforce the ground, allowing the machines to pass through as if it were solid rock.  As the tunnel boring machines mine, they place pre-cast concrete lining rings along the excavated tunnel, making up the permanent liner of the finished tunnel. Tunneling between 34th Street and Times Square presented unique challenges, as the subway will run under the 8th Avenue Subway, Amtrak/NJ TRANSIT tunnels, tunnels to the former New York Central Line, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal and ramps.

Work will soon begin on station entrances and finishes and support facilities such as ventilation and traction power substations. The new service is expected to open in December 2013 as scheduled.

The 7 Line Extension will introduce subway service to an emerging mixed-use community in Midtown West, fostering transit oriented development in one of Manhattan's most underserved and underdeveloped areas.  The City created two local development corporations, the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, which is contributing $2.1 billion to the project, and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, which oversees planning and development in the Hudson Yards on behalf of the City.

The West Side Yards site is the largest undeveloped single piece of property in Manhattan. The mixed-use master-planned community will be developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group and includes 12 million square feet of commercial and residential development featuring state-of-the-art sustainable design. The master plan features approximately 5,000 affordable and market-rate residences in nine residential buildings, three world-class corporate headquarters sites, a major destination retail complex including an anchor department store, a 300 room five star and 1,000 room convention hotel, multiple cultural facilities, and a new 750-seat public school, all carefully planned around 12 acres of grand public open space. 

In January of 2005, the City Council approved the Bloomberg Administration's plan for re-zoning the Hudson Yards area, including the Eastern Rail Yards. Last year, the Council voted on the plan for the Western Rail Yards, completing the public approvals process for the development of the area. In May 2010, Related Companies and its partner Oxford Properties Group, went to contract with the MTA on the Eastern and Western Rail Yards.

"Today marks an important milestone in the number 7 subway extension thanks to the bold vision of the Bloomberg Administration and the MTA," said Related Oxford Hudson Yards President Jay Cross. "This critical investment in public infrastructure will continue to spur private investment and allow for the future growth of New York City at the Hudson Yards.  Related and our new partner Oxford Properties Group look forward to continuing to work with the City and the MTA as we collectively endeavor to transform the West Side Yards into New York's new 21st century neighborhood."


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (Mayor)   (212) 788-2958

Kevin Ortiz (MTA)   (212) 878-7440

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