MTA megaprojects, including Fulton Street redesign, need more time

Second Avenue subway is still on track to finish in December 2016.

MTA delays are piling up, but not in the subway system.

Officials Monday told board members that megaprojects will need more time than expected to finish up.

A redesign of the Fulton Street station into a major downtown transportation hub was scheduled to open on Friday, but now that will be 60 to 90 days away.

In that time, the MTA will be testing communications system and fire alarms, six of 19 elevators and get a necessary certificate for code compliance, according to a presentation to the MTA board. The project is, however, on its $1.4 billion budget. An independent engineer, Patrick Askew, noted that “critical testing of key systems is still not complete” and suggested that MTA Capital Construction do a coordinated review of competing megaprojects so there are resources to “support the opening of the center on schedule.”

That competition of resources for megaprojects, as well as mitigating the effects of Superstorm Sandy, could also affect the opening of the No. 7 line extension into Manhattan’s far west side, according to Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.

Officially, the new time frame for finishing the project is between Fall 2014 and end of March 2015, but Horodniceanu said an accelerated schedule could get the No. 7 project completed in December, a year after Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “inaugural” ride on a subway project his administration spearheaded. Problems holding up the project include ventilation fans, escalators and elevators. The independent engineer on the No. 7 train project, however, told MTA to expect a February 2015 end date.

“It is not going to go to the spring of next year,” Horodniceanu said. “We expect that to be the case that the acceleration will be able to remove some of the risks and get it done whenever we expect to get it done.”

While the Second Avenue subway is still on budget and on track to open December 2016, an independent engineer for that project warned that mitigation plans for schedule risks must be completed to “improve confidence” that the MTA will meet its completion date.

Andrew Albert, an MTA board member, said the concerns of the independent engineering consultants amounted to “covering your you-know-what.”

“I hope they’ll be proven wrong on some of these. I hope we will open before they think we will open,” he said.

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