The decades-long dream of bringing subway service directly into East Harlem is slowly inching forward as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released stunning renderings of the line’s future stations and put out the first key contract out for bid.
The contract, announced on Wednesday, is worth an estimated $50-$100 million and will fund the relocation of all the underground utilities in Manhattan between 104th Street and 112th street ahead of the first leg of the Second Avenue subway’s northward extension from its current final stop at 96th Street.
“As part of my administration’s efforts to advance transit equity across New York State, the Second Avenue Subway project will expand critical public transportation service to East Harlem, creating more opportunity for residents,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement.
“We remain committed to keeping this long-envisioned project moving along swiftly for East Harlem, and I am proud to see it moving one step closer to reality,” she added.
The second phase would extend the Q up Second Avenue with stops at 106th and 116th streets before turning westward at 125th Street and continuing to Lexington Avenue, allowing for easier connections from the Q to the existing 4/5/6 and the Metro-North service.
The contract accounts for just a tiny sliver of the estimated $7-$7.7 billion price tag for the extension.
Local politicians have pushed hard for the subway for decades, arguing it speeds commutes while slashing traffic and reducing air pollution in a part of the city with some of the Big Apple’s highest rates of asthma.
The renderings published show a unified entrance for the Q and the 4/5/6 at 125th Street with the Metro-North’s elevated tracks nearby, as well as the entrance to the 106th Street station framed up against the neighboring housing towers.
Officials released the new illustrations of the proposed 106th Street and 125th Street stops as officials confirmed they are continuing their review of the size and scope of the proposed station designs, after a Post investigation revealed they were twice as big as necessary — potentially adding hundreds of millions to the project’s $7 billion price tag.
The Post’s story revealed that the MTA’s consultants drew up designs for stations that are 1,200-1,400 feet in size, while the 10-car trains run on the subway’s lettered lines are just 600 feet long.
Across the Atlantic, the major transit systems in London, Paris and Rome minimize costs by building stations that are much closer in size to their train lengths.
It’s a repeat of a design decision the MTA and its outside contractors made when building the first leg of the Second Avenue Subway through the Upper East Side, which helped push costs into the stratosphere, independent experts say.