Officials celebrate completion of the Long Island Rail Road Third Track project

Oct. 4, 2022
The 9.8-mile project wrapped on time and is reportedly $100 million below budget.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Third Track project is complete with state and transit officials marking the milestone on Oct. 3. The project saw the construction of a new 9.8-mile section of track between Floral Park and Hicksville that will allow LIRR greater operational flexibility and support an increase of service across the system when Grand Central Madison opens later in 2022.

"The completion of the LIRR Third Track gives the LIRR more flexibility to serve customers on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson/Huntington and Oyster Bay branches. When combined with the new terminal at Grand Central Madison and the newly renovated LIRR concourse at Penn Station, LIRR customers will have more frequent service, upgraded stations with a host of modern amenities, and easier reverse peak trips,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi.

The newly built Third Track is physically the southernmost track on the roadbed and will carry eastbound service. It opened in three sections, with the first leg opening August 15 through New Hyde Park and Merillon Avenue and the second stretch to Mineola on August 30.

The Third Track project is a central element to the LIRR Main Line Expansion Project, which includes the renewal of five LIRR stations along the route (New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place and Westbury), the elimination of eight at-grade railroad crossings, upgrades at seven railroad bridges, parking expansions, installation of new sound attenuation barriers and landscaping improvements. With only minor station work left to complete, the project is heading toward the finish line $100 million under budget almost four years after breaking ground.

"This project is being delivered on time and $100 million under budget, thanks to design-build contracting and many other new and innovative project management strategies,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “It's especially incredible that this was all accomplished during a global pandemic and with no residential property takings. It shows that the MTA can deliver on its promise to bring megaprojects faster, better and cheaper. And this expansion will be a huge boon for Long Island businesses, since it will increase access to the region's talent pool by enabling not only a 40 percent overall increase in LIRR service, but a huge uptick in reverse peak train frequency. It's a win-win-win."

A joint venture of Arup and Jacobs served as project management consultant for the Third Track project and Peter Guest, principal with Arup, notes the task of oversight required coordination and relied on digital tools to meet the project schedule and budget.

“It was essential to deliver results on time and on budget for this major transit corridor vital for commuters,” said Guest. “Our oversight and team coordination were enhanced by developing and using digital tools that provided a single source of information for effective team collaboration.”

Gary Morris, Jacobs People and Places Solutions senior vice president, added, “Our development of a digital dashboard and comprehensive project management plan was key to facilitating the program’s success.”

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