LIRR’s Third Track projected completed on time, under budget

LIRR’s Third Track projected completed on time, under budget
A train rolls into the newly-upgraded New Hyde Park LIRR station, where state officials including Gov. Kathy Hochul commemorated the event by riding on the just-opened three-mile stretch of track between Floral Park and Merillon Avenue stations. (Photo courtesy of the office of the governor)

The Long Island Rail Road’s 3rd Track project was completed Monday, both on time and under budget, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul

The 9.8-mile track runs from Floral Park to Hicksville and increases services by 41% systemwide when Grand Central Madison opens later this year.

“The completion of the historic Third Track project connects commuters with a more resilient and flexible railroad with frequent service, modern stations, ADA accessibility and more travel opportunities for Long Islanders and visitors,” Hochul said in a statement. “I applaud the MTA, local communities and the hard-working women and men of organized labor who worked together to deliver this transformative project on time and under budget.” 

The 3rd Track is the main centerpiece of the $2.5 billion Main Line Expansion Project, which includes station upgrades in Mineola, New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Carle Place and Westbury, eliminating eight at-grade railroad crossings, upgrading seven railroad bridges, landscaping improvements and parking expansions, among others. 

Four years since breaking ground, the project is set to be completed $100 million under budget. 

“This project is being delivered on time and $100 million under budget, thanks to design-build contracting and many other new and innovative project management strategies.  It’s especially incredible that this was all accomplished during a global pandemic and with no residential property takings,” said MTA CEO Janno Lieber. “It shows that the MTA can deliver on its promise to bring megaprojects faster, better and cheaper. And this expansion will be a huge boon for Long Island businesses since it will increase access to the region’s talent pool by enabling not only a 40% overall increase in LIRR service but a huge uptick in reverse peak train frequency. It’s a win-win-win.”  

The Main Line Expansion and 3rd Track Projects are both part of a $17.7 billion investment into the Long Island Rail Road. Overall, the total investment is going toward the opening of Grand Central Madison, the LIRR Concourse at Penn Station, 13 miles of tracks between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma and infrastructure upgrades, among others. 

“The completion of the LIRR Third Track gives the LIRR more flexibility to serve customers on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson/Huntington and Oyster Bay branches,” LIRR interim President Catherine Rinaldi said. “When combined with the new terminal at Grand Central Madison and the newly renovated LIRR concourse at Penn Station, LIRR customers will have more frequent service, upgraded stations with a host of modern amenities, and easier reverse peak trips.”   

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