News to Us: New York's MTA #7 Extension to Open Six Months Later Than Originally Planned

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The #7 extension construction site as of 5/12 (photo courtesy of MTAPhotos via flickr)

TN read with interest today's New York Post story stating that the the #7 subway extension to Manhattan's far west side won't be open until June 2014 -- six months later than originally planned.

"It's on schedule to begin revenue service in June 2014 and on budget at $2.4 billion," MTA chair Joe Lhota told the New York State Senate Transportation Committee today.

Um. TN, like the Post, was under the impression that service to 11th Avenue and 34th Street was scheduled to open in December 2013 -- but the MTA says the new date is old news.

MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg noted that the MTA had already publicly released the new opening date at a board meeting in February. Which it did; turn to page 242 of the transit committee meeting report book to see the June '14 date reflected in the official documents.

Lisberg attributed the late opening to "general construction delays and easement issues."

But the MTA's website has conflicting information on the project. While one page has the most recent opening date, it doesn't have the latest project cost -- now $2.4 billion, not $2.1 billion -- although that number can be found on yet another section of the site.

(Note: still other undated information says "customers will be able to take advantage of the new service in December 2013 as scheduled.")

The project's cost increase falls under the "systems and finishes" category. According to Lisberg, the MTA hired one company to dig the tunnel and another company to do the switches, and he says "we were overly optimistic in coordinating how well those companies would work together."

The original opening target for the #7 extension was actually right about now -- it was conceived as the train to the proposed Olympic stadium when New York was bidding for the summer 2012 Olympics.