The Metropolitan Transit Authority's East Side Access project, which will link the Long Island Rail Road to New York's Grand Central Station, may not be finished until 2019, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota announced Tuesday.
A recent analysis of the $7.3 billion project places a possible opening date in 2019, a year later than previously expected.
If everything bad happens, it might push out a year, Lhota said, according to a Newsday report. I'm doing everything I can to keep it at 2018.
Lhota added that the project -- which involves boring 7,200 feet of tunnels from 63rd St. to 38th St. in Manhattan and 5,500 feet of tunnels from the LIRR railyard in Sunnyside, Queens to the pre-existing 63rd St. Tunnel -- is the largest public works projects currently going on in the United States.
It's the most complicated interlocking system anywhere in the United States and quite possibly the world, and we're tunneling underneath it, he went on. To tell you it's complicated is an understatement.
MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan said the analysis has not been completed, and the MTA will present a full report to the Capital Oversight Committee later this month.
One preliminary analysis of risk factors has indicated the completion date may move to 2019, Donovan said via email.
The analysis is not complete, and the MTA is identifying ways to mitigate those risk factors to allow the project to be completed as early as possible. The MTA continues to work with its partners at the Federal Transit Administration to update the East Side Access funding agreement to reflect the new schedule.
Lhota said the new project will save approximately 160,000 LIRR riders at least 40 minutes on their daily commute to Manhattan's East Side and will also decongest travel to Penn Station.
Click the slideshow to see pictures of how the construction project has progressed.