A JOINT venture led by a division of Spanish civil engineering company Dragados has been awarded a tunnelling contract valued at nearly $428m for work on Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project.

Due for completion in about six years, the project will bring LIRR trains into a new terminus under New York’s Grand Central Terminal (RG 8.04 p476). The tunnelling work is due to start immediately, with completion in 50 months.

Dragados USA Inc and its local partner, Judlau Contracting Inc, plan to use two hard-rock tunnel boring machines to excavate 7620m of tunnel through the bedrock from the existing blind end of the East River 63rd Street tunnel at Second Avenue to the intersection of Park Avenue and 38th Street. This is the first time TBMs have been used to dig rail tunnels in Manhattan. n