THE BOARD of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on November 16 to award a $150·4m contract for final design of the 3·5 km first section of the Second Avenue subway.

The contract with DMJM+Harris and Arup covers the tunnels from East 92nd Street to East 62nd Street, plus stations at 96th, 86th, 72nd and Lexington Avenue/63rd, and trackwork from 105th to 63rd streets. The two consultancies have already undertaken preliminary engineering and design work.

MTA officials hope to award a construction contract before the end of 2006, so that work can start in spring 2007. The initial section, which includes a connection to the BMT Broadway subway, is expected to cost $3·8bn. The funding package for this stage was finalised on November when voters approved a $2·9bn MTA bond issue (RG 12.05 p753).

The Second Avenue subway was first proposed in 1929 as a replacement for the Second and Third Avenue elevated lines, which were subsequently dismantled. The full 13·7 km route from 125th Street and Lexington Avenue to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan, is costed $16·8bn.