An artist's rendering of the completed Long Island Rail Road terminal at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.
An artist’s rendering of the completed Long Island Rail Road terminal at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

The East Side Access construction project that will bring Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal has moved into the next phase of work: Building the interior of the terminal.

Wisconsin-based Michels Corporation was awarded the $200,602,743 contract, the first of three required to build the permanent structural concrete lining, interior structures and equip newly excavated caverns and tunnels, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday.

“This contract begins the construction on the interior work that 160,000 weekday LIRR customers will experience when the new LIRR station terminal opens below Grand Central,” said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.

Tunnel Vision: Inside the East Side Access Project

The $8.24 billion East Side Access project, currently the largest public works project in the nation, will conclude with an eight-track terminal. Each cavern will contain four tracks, an upper and lower level platform, and a mezzanine.

It is designed to cut 40 minutes off the commute time for LIRR riders who work on the east side of midtown Manhattan but are forced to use Penn Station on the west side. The LIRR also expects its first new Manhattan terminal in a century will ease congestion at Penn Station, which sees 230,000 LIRR riders daily.

The contract and two others in the works for the north and central locations are being paid for by federal and local funds, the MTA said.

The latest estimated completion date of the long-delayed project is 2019.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.