Construction work starts on Metro-North Park Avenue viaduct replacement

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Reconstruction work on the 130-year-old Park Avenue Viaduct in East Harlem has begun with clearing for new foundations and columns that will support the structure.

The Park Avenue Viaduct is an elevated steel structure that carries four Metro-North Railroad tracks along Park Avenue between East 110th Street and the Harlem River Lift Bridge. Metro-North Railroad trains traveling along the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines utilize the Park Avenue Viaduct to access Harlem-125th Street Station and Grand Central Terminal, totaling 98% of Metro-North trains.

“Every train Metro-North operates east of the Hudson River – 750 passenger trains a day – either travels over the Park Avenue Viaduct or connects with a train that does,” said MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “So to call this 130-year-old infrastructure ‘critical’ seems like an understatement. Metro-North is extremely appreciative that MTA Construction & Development has prioritized replacement of the viaduct in a timely way that will allow the railroad to continue operations without significant disruption to schedules.”

MTA C&D will use innovative modern tools and materials to reduce construction noise and vibrations to the surrounding neighborhoods, and we are coordinating closely with the City of New York to integrate this project with DOT street improvements.”

The $590 million first phase will replace major segments of the elevated steel structure, nearly half of which was first built in 1893, to ensure it remains in a state of good repair; $500.9 million is federally funded.

Phase 1 work will include replacing existing structures, tracks, power, communications, and signal system from East 115th Street to East 123rd Street. Phase 1 construction will continue through 2026. Work currently is underway for substructure construction, focusing on the viaduct’s foundations and columns.

Design elements will include a more welcoming lighter color structure, improved lighting, and increased pedestrian safety under the viaduct.

The project builds on more than $24 million of recent MTA investment in the Harlem-125th Street Station area, including lighting improvements, station work performed under the enhanced station initiative, customer service kiosk enhancements, stairwell replacement, and the painting of other sections of the viaduct.

MTA has signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity (BCTC), its participating affiliated local unions, and their members. The agreement – representing the first PLA since the creation of MTA C&D in 2019 – is a commitment to working with union partners to improve labor efficiency and reduce costs on capital projects without compromising worker pay or safety.

Phase one is expected to be completed in 2026.

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