'Major blasting' done for LIRR's East Side Access

Sandhogs conducting one of the last blasts for East Side Access? Manhattan caverns. Handout: MTA

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Workers have finished "major blasting" that has carved out what will be the new Long Island Rail Road station serving the East Side of Manhattan, officials said Tuesday.

"The caverns are essentially now fully excavated," Michael Horodniceanu, head of MTA Capital Construction, said in a statement about the East Side Access project.

"Much work remains to be done to build the platforms and tracks, and finish what is currently raw, cavelike space. But we now have a fully built shell in which all future work will take place," he said.

The two caverns underneath Grand Central Terminal will eventually have eight tracks and platforms, 160 feet below street level, that will give LIRR commuters access to the East Side side by 2019, according to the MTA, parent agency of the LIRR.

Workers have set off more than 2,400 controlled explosions of the powder Emulex during the six years of blasting, the MTA said. Some minor blasting may still have to be done to even out parts of the caverns, the agency said.

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