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MTA: Two key East Side Access contracts awarded

The East Side Access project is connecting the

The East Side Access project is connecting the LIRR to a new passenger concourse underneath Grand Central Terminal. This photo shows an update on the status of construction on the Manhattan side of the project, as of June 2013. Photo Credit: MTA / Patrick Cashin

The MTA has awarded two key East Side Access contracts to put the finishing touches on newly dug tunnels and install communications systems in the Long Island Rail Road's future Grand Central Terminal concourse.

The two contracts, valued at about $628 million, will see companies line 10,000 feet of new tunnels stretching from Queens to Manhattan's East Side with concrete walls, and also put in telephone, two-way radio, public address, digital signage and fire detection systems in Grand Central, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday.

"The work to be performed through these contracts will significantly advance East Side Access, the most complex and largest transportation infrastructure project underway in North America," said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction. "When Long Island Rail Road riders come to Grand Central, the systems that will be put in place through these contracts will serve as an unseen backbone making train service possible."

New Rochelle-based Totor Perini Corp. won the $333.6 million contract to install the communications systems and other infrastructure support, including ventilation, tunnel drainage, tunnel lighting, plumbing and fire protection.

Frontier-Kemper Constructors, of Sylmar, Calif., was awarded a $294 million contract to build the tunnels' concrete lining, including embedded mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The company will also rehabilitate the 40-year-old 63rd Street Tunnel through which LIRR trains will travel as part of East Side Access and perform other work at new ventilation facilities for the project.

East Side Access will link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal with the goal of saving about 160,000 daily riders up to 40 minutes a day in their commutes. The "mega-project," as the MTA has referred to it, has been beset with delays and cost overruns since work began in 2001. The Federal Transit Administration recently predicted the effort would not be completed until September 2023 and at a cost of nearly $11 billion -- more than twice the MTA's original projection.

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