The Second Avenue Subway met its mark for opening on New Year's Day, but it reportedly did so with thousands of outstanding problems. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has that story.
The Second Avenue Subway opened with great fanfare Jan. 1, which was exactly the deadline set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
But according to an oversight report sent in January to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the four-station line began service with more than 17,000 outstanding defects, and before final safety tests were completed. The report was first disclosed Wednesday by The New York Times.
"The large number of discrepancies is a concern," the report says. "Such a large number of discrepancies indicate a breakdown in the contractors' quality assurance program, the subcontractors' quality control program and that quality was compromised for schedule acceleration."
Cuomo, who oversees the MTA, made no secret of wanting to meet the deadline to show that government could get big things done. In the weeks before the opening, he repeatedly visited the project to check its progress.
Philip Plotch, a former MTA construction official, says there was a frenzy to meet Jan. 1 deadline.
"In 2016, speed became paramount. So it became more important than cost, and it became more important than quality, and it became more important than other important factors," Plotch said in a phone interview.
That January report to the FTA by an engineering consultant does not detail the 17,260 outstanding issues; some could have been as minor as doors needing adjustment.
However, The Times said that when the line opened, the fire alarm system was still being tested, and that crews are still posted along the line to watch for fires.
In a statement, an FTA spokesperson said, "The MTA addressed the required issues necessary to open and operate the system safely, and MTA met safety readiness requirements at the time it opened."
The MTA said the new stations are "completely safe, and they have been since the day they opened."
"They feature state-of-the-art technology for fire protection, closed-circuit monitoring, and new public address systems," the MTA said. "Any suggestion that safety was at all compromised to meet the deadline to open is patently false."
Eight-and-a-half months after its debut, the second avenue line still operates with a temporary safety certificate. However, the MTA said the extension of the 7 line opened with a temporary certificate, too.