NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new effort to speed up the East Side Access project linking the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal is underway.

The $7.4 billion mega project has been plagued with delays and far-off completion date, putting it on the back burner in the minds of many commuters.

But now, two years may be shaved off part of the project thanks to a new contract and schedule with Dragados, the company excavating the tunnels for the new rail line.

The new deadline for completion of the digging of the main tunnel of the East Side Access project is August of 2013.

“That would be fantastic, it would make my life a lot easier,” commuter Bill Maroney told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin. “Right now, I go to Penn Station and take the shuttle over to Grand Central.”

Once complete, the perks will include extra trains at Grand Central and a new LIRR train station in Sunnyside.

But project managers warn there is no guarantee, with their biggest concern being a separate project for Amtrak getting in the way.

That project involves replacing all of the tracks inside the four East River tunnels which could take up to four years and is being staged from the same Long Island City rail yard used for the East Side Access project.

Aaron Donovan, spokesman for the MTA, says though that the overall project is expected to get wrapped up in a few years.

“It will be between June of 2016 and April of 2018,” Donovan said. “We’re currently undergoing a rebaselining process to determine the scheduled completion.”

That said, Donovan believes the wait will be worth it.

“This project will dramatically transform the way Long Islanders use the Long Island Rail Road. Now you’ll have a choice from every station as to whether you want to go to Grand Central, Penn Station or Brooklyn.”

For more information about the project, click here.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section….

Comments (11)
  1. Andyboy says:

    Andyboy 57 at two to four shots a day I’m told the blasting should be done by mid.2013.If we keep going at this pace.

  2. Deirdre says:

    My boyfriend is a Sandhog at MTA-East Side Access and there is no way that it will be done next year. Expected to go thru 2016.

  3. Paul Uhland says:

    VY…IIRC, there is no handy connection between the coming lower GCT LIRR platform tracks and MN’s above, otherwise, it might work.

  4. LB says:

    Is the MTA planning on doubling the amount of equipment(trains) they currently have? If not does this mean if there is a train every 1/2 hour from Penn to Babylon, they will now run every hour since half the equipment will now run out of Grand Central?

  5. VY says:

    Tell AMTRAK to wait until the East Side LIRR access to Grand Central is finished, so the LIRR will have an alterative Manhattan terminal while AMTRAK fixed the existing east side tunnels.
    Then entire east side Grand Central access for the LIRR would have already been completed if the MTA was smart enough to force Metro North to give up 4 platforms and the adjacent 8 tracks on the exsisting lower level of the current Grand Central Terminal.
    That would have left Metro North with 32 of their current 40 platform tracks, and still full exclusive use of the 4 tracks in the Park Ave. tunnel.

  6. aikoaiko3 says:

    I believe that it is possible. The project is very far long already… it’s not just starting up.

  7. Mr. Contractor says:

    Oh, sorry, we transposed the numbers. That’s 2031. You see, I’m a contractor and I make ludicrous promises so I get the contract. Once I have the contract, I can do whatever I want. Who’s going to stop me? If I’m late, so what. I keep getting paid.

    1. Yankees368 says:

      calm down dude. If you had any idea of the complexity behind this project, your tune would change very quickly. You ever multiple tunnels in Manhattan bedrock under the worlds largest train hub? Didn’t think so.

  8. Yankees368 says:

    The 2013 completion date is flat out wrong. That is impossible.

    1. Brucie says:

      2013 is the completion of the tunnels not the entire project.

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