The LIRR’s Third Track project is now completed: on time and under budget and Gov. Kathy Hochul was on Long Island today to celebrate the achievement.
The new, 9.8-mile track runs from Floral Park to Hicksville, and gives the railroad more flexibility when conducting trains along the busy corridor. When the eagerly awaited LIRR terminal will open in Grand Central Station later this year the Third Track will help increase service by 41 percent.
“The completion of the historic Third Track project connects commuters with a more resilient and flexible railroad with frequent service, modern stations, ADA accessibility and more travel opportunities for Long Islanders and visitors,” Hochul said. “I applaud the MTA, local communities and the hard-working women and men of organized labor who worked together to deliver this transformative project on time and under budget.”
The Third Track is the centerpiece of the larger $2.5 billion Long Island Rail Road 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-blocking barriers and landscaping improvements. Additional good news is that with only minor station work left to complete, the project is heading to be $100 million under budget almost four years after breaking ground.
The 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 Aug. 15 through New Hyde Park and Merillon Avenue and the second stretch to Mineola on Aug. 30.