NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Cortlandt Street subway station is the very last piece of the restoration puzzle in Lower Manhattan following the September 11th terror attacks.

As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the station that languished for more than 16 years is now back on track and slated for a fall opening.

More than one million trains, maybe even two million, have passed through the subway station since 9/11 and never, ever stopped. An entire generation of New Yorkers has done without a Cortlandt Street stop on the 1 train.

It sustained heavy damage when the World Trade Center buildings fell. Steel beams came crashing through the ceiling, sending debris everywhere.

But as Kramer reported, it does beg the question: If we’ve done without it for more than 16 years, why do we need it now?

“It will allow people to get on, and they can get to the Upper West Side, they connect to the No. 2 and No. 3 to take the express to the Upper West Side – it’s a level of connectivity,” MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber explained.

He took CBS2’s cameras on a tour of the construction, which – by design – started in the Fulton Center and moved to The Oculus.

Officials said the Cortlandt Street station will connect tens of thousands of commuters and tourists to other destinations.

The station’s platforms are now a beehive of activity, with crews hammering, sawing, wiring, measuring, mixing cement and installing a massive air conditioning and ventilation system.

Despite the work that still needs to be done, the MTA says it will be finished in a matter of months. Lieber told Kramer it will be done by October – November at the latest.

“That’s our job – to get the job done,” he said. “The ceiling was rebuilt. There was 1,200 feet on each side of the station where track had to be rebuilt.”

Through the years, the costs have soared from $69 million to $158 million. There are many reasons, including bureaucracy.

The Port Authority was originally supposed to do the program and did not. Plus, a contractor missed deadlines time after time.

Now that the MTA has taken over, it’s holding a big hammer over the company’s head.

“They lost a $120 million contract, because of disagreements about their performance on this project,” said Lieber. “Everybody knows we’re rebuilding the subway system every day, and this contractor who does a lot of that work I think wanted to make sure they could compete for jobs.”

So in a matter of months, the train that runs through the heart of the World Trade Center will actually stop again.

The MTA says the station is vital to serve five million tourists and a workforce that’s 300,000 and growing.


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