With an aggressive 2019 in the books, the LIRR Expansion Project is full steam ahead for an ambitious 2020.
In just one year, we constructed and installed three new bridges, eliminated two grade crossings, and installed 18,000 linear feet or 3.4 miles of sound and retaining walls. And we’re not stopping there with an even more ambitious LIRR Expansion Project schedule in 2020. This year, we’ll install three additional bridges and a pedestrian underpass; the opening of two parking structures, complete two reconstructed stations, install more than 20,000 linear feet (equal to more than four miles!) of walls and the commissioning of a new Nassau 1 Interlocking along the nearly 10-mile corridor of the Mainline between Floral Park and Hicksville.
“Governor Cuomo promised these communities a project that would make their neighborhoods safer and quieter and that would be done better, faster and more cost effectively than anything the MTA has done in the past,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “This model project will bring the LIRR into the 21st Century, providing more reliable and convenient service. We are on schedule and on budget and will not let these communities and our customers down. The Governor’s promise will be kept.”
The LIRR Expansion Project is utilizing the Design-Build process, which puts all aspects of both design and construction in the purview of one organization – in this case a joint venture called Third Track Constructors. This approach saves money and time and will help ensure the project is completed in just four years after major construction started in the fall of 2018. Elements of the project scheduled for completion in 2020 include:
Bridges carrying the LIRR over Plainfield Avenue in Floral Park and the Meadowbrook Parkway in Carle Place will be expanded to accommodate the new third track, and the bridge over Glen Cove Road will be replaced.
Each bridge will be constructed on site and, once constructed, will be rolled into place in just one weekend, ensuring only minimal inconvenience for LIRR customers. Once in place, systems including rail, power and signals will be reinstalled in the same one weekend outage. Clearance under the new bridges will be raised to 14 feet, reducing the chance of truck strikes. This method was successfully utilized at Nassau Boulevard and Cherry Lane. The project will also complete the extension of the pedestrian underpass into the Floral Park Pool Complex on Linden Avenue.
Grade Crossing Eliminations
New Hyde Park Road, New Hyde Park; School Street, Westbury; Willis Avenue, Mineola; and S. 12th Street, New Hyde Park. An innovative construction method to install new underpasses, box-jacking will be utilized, similar to the method used at Urban Avenue in North Hempstead and Covert Avenue in New Hyde Park.
The rail bridges that enable the LIRR to traverse the underpasses are built on site while excavation takes place. During a one-weekend railroad outage, the existing track bed is removed and the remaining excavation is completed. Using a series of hydraulic jacks, the new bridge that will support the railroad is pushed into place, followed by the installation of new track, power and signal systems. The new approach reduces what used to take years to complete in a matter of months. In the case of S.12th Street, the current grade crossing will be dead ended. New Hyde Park Road between Plaza and 4th Avenues will close on February 3rd for a period of seven months to accommodate construction; simultaneously, the temporary New Hyde Park station will open to the west of S. 12th Street to provide a safer working environment for construction at New Hyde Park Road. Project personnel have already begun an aggressive outreach program to publicize the detours and inform commuters about the temporary station.
Harrison Avenue, Mineola and Westbury North. Time and cost savings are achieved by producing precast segments of the garage walls and floors off site at a facility in Denver, PA, then trucking the segments to the locations and assembling them. This method also reduces the number of concrete trucks necessary, minimizing traffic in the communities. Harrison Avenue will accommodate 551 vehicles, while Westbury North will contain 683 parking spots.
Construction at the Merillon Ave and Carle Place stations will be completed and work at the New Hyde Park and Mineola Stations will begin in 2020. Improvements at the four stations include: platform removal and replacement to accommodate a new third track and longer 12-car trains; platform canopies; new platform furnishings and accouterments including benches, shelters and signage; CCTV security cameras to improve safety; ADA-compliant mobility improvements including elevators and ramps; free public Wi-Fi; USB charging stations and digital information displays. Floral Park will be outfitted with elevators for each of its three platforms.
Nassau 1 Interlocking will be completed and commissioned during 2020. Interlockings are a series of switches that allow trains to move from one track to another.
The LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville, reducing train congestion and delays and enabling true bi-directional service during peak hours. Construction is being handled in a way to minimize the impact on daily routines, with extensive mitigation and public outreach efforts to local communities. The LIRR Expansion Project is part of a multibillion-dollar modernization of the Long Island Rail Road, the largest investment the railroad has received in decades. Once the work is complete, the LIRR will have increased its capacity by roughly 50 percent. Together, the upgrades are helping transform transportation across the region and providing a reliable, state-of-the-art rail system for Long Islanders. For more information and photos, please visit the LIRR Expansion Project Floral Park to Hicksville project page on AModernLI.com.