An important update today on work to complete the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line which is supposed to open within the next three weeks. Transit officials say progress is being made but will service begin on time? Transit reporter Jose Martinez reports.
Subway crews have trained for it. And residents of Manhattan's East Side could not be more ready for the new Second Avenue Subway line.
MTA officials said Monday they were making progress toward meeting their January first deadline for launching service on the long-delayed line.
"We're cautiously optimistic that we're going to meet the revenue service date," said MTA CEO Tom Prendergast. "That's it in a nutshell, that really does. We are focused on getting the testing commissioning done, and the observations done. We've more than doubled the level of effort, that's as clear as I can state it."
But the MTA chairman and other officials still did not announce a date for actually starting service.
Governor Cuomo — who oversees the MTA — has been pressuring the state agency to meet the target date.
He made unannounced visits to the new stations over the weekend, saying he's "cautiously optimistic" the line will open on time.
At Monday's meeting, MTA officials insisted that work on the new stations is down to finishing touches.
"Emergency alarm testing is completed at all stations, sound-power phones is completed at all three but 72nd Street, which will be completed this week," said Anil Parikh, Program Executive for the Second Avenue Subway.
The line was proposed nearly a century ago — to run the length of Manhattan.
But only the first phase has been built , from 63rd Street to new stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets, to be served by the Q train.
An independent engineer had raised doubts the line could open on time, with testing on some station elevators and escalators lagging.
But the MTA now says most of the problems have been resolved.
Many residents say they've noticed contractors working at an accelerated pace in recent months.
"Oh my goodness, they work hard, yes," said one neighbor.
And after using the exact words, "cautiously optimistic," as his boss the governor did, we'll see what else the MTA Chairman has to say when the agency's board meets on Wednesday.