Railway Tracks and Structures (RT&S), a leading trade journal that covers the railroad industry, has selected the recently completed B/C Approach Structure for East Side Access for the 2021 RT&S Top Project list. East Side Access will accommodate LIRR trains in a new terminal beneath Grand Central Terminal by the end of 2022.
Built by MTA Construction & Development with its contractor Skanska, the B/C Approach Structure includes the buildout of a rail transit tunnel approach structure and associated infrastructure in the heart of Harold Interlocking, the busiest rail interlocking in the country.
In order to complete the tunnel and U-shaped approach ramp, new piers that support the 39th Street vehicular bridge needed to be installed. The vehicular bridge was temporarily underpinned and the support piers were relocated allowing the approach ramp to connect the previously soft-ground bored tunnel to the mainline tracks that provide service to both the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak.
The approach structure is 30 feet deep, 30 feet wide and 900 feet long. Ballasted track and the installation of the largest LIRR track switch in Harold Interlocking completed the tunnel. The B/C Approach Structure is the last heavy civil and track work contract for the East Side Access project.
The completion of the B/C Approach Structure is the culmination of years of significant planning and coordination as Harold Interlocking was reconstructed to a new alignment to accommodate the tunnels going to Grand Central while improving the reliability and functionality of the rail operation for both the LIRR and Amtrak.