Floral Park, N.Y. — The Long Island Rail Road broke ground on the historic Third Track. The $2.6 billion expansion effort includes 50 projects to modernize 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville. Those projects include adding a third track, eliminating all seven street-level grade crossings within the project corridor, adding new power substations and parking, and modernizing track and signal infrastructure. Forty percent of LIRR riders pass through the Main Line.
“Since the 1940s, people talked about adding a third track and modernizing the Main Line corridor — and now we’re actually doing it,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “These projects taken together will create smoother and more reliable service for LIRR passengers while at the same time improving public safety by eliminating dangerous grade crossings. The LIRR is the backbone of the region’s economy and this expansion effort will boost growth for generations.”
Benefits of the project will include smoother and more reliable commutes, safer and quieter crossings, improvements to stations and parking facilities, reduced noise along the project corridor as well as less congestion and cleaner air.
Project elements along the Main Line corridor include:
- 8 miles of a new third track;
- 7 grade crossing eliminations, including Covert Avenue, South 12th Street, New Hyde Park Road, Main Street, Willis Avenue, Urban Avenue and School Street;
- 7 bridge replacements and modifications, including South Tyson Avenue Bridge, Plainfield Avenue Bridge, Tanners Pond Road/Denton Avenue Bridge, Glen Cove Road Bridge, Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge, and Cherry Lane Bridge;
- 5 station improvements, including New Hyde Park Station, Merillon Avenue Station, Mineola Station, Carle Place Station, and Westbury Station; in addition to ADA-compliant elevators at Floral Park Station;
- 7 substation replacements, including Floral Park Substation, New Hyde Park Substation, Merillon Avenue Substation, Mineola Substation, Carle Place Substation, Westbury Substation, and New Cassel Substation;
- 5 miles of sound/retaining walls; and
- Additional improvements throughout the project corridor.
The plan takes no residential properties, eliminates the seven street-level grade crossings, and widens or increases the height of seven bridges across the line to prevent bridge strikes.
As part of the project, the state is also undertaking a comprehensive noise abatement program — replacing all tracks and building the new Third Track with advanced dampening technology. The project also includes sound-reducing walls along nearly six miles of residential neighborhoods along the mainline and features architectural treatments to complement the surrounding environments.
The LIRR will also replace power infrastructure throughout the system with seven new traction power substations to improve reliability and increase capacity enough to power three LIRR trains traveling simultaneously. In addition, to increase safety, the system will add positive train control to prevent operator error.
To ensure community input throughout the entirety of the project, the LIRR has entered into memoranda of understanding with the communities on the Main Line Third Track. The MOUs invite input on project design, including aesthetic design of certain project elements such as sound walls, consideration for traffic and parking, utilities, drainage, pest and dust control, transit-oriented development, construction schedule and duration and community safety and quality of life.
The Third Track expansion project is expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2022.
Work on the Main Line is part of the historic $6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road to strengthen the region’s transportation infrastructure and usher in a new era of economic growth. In total, approximately 100 transformative LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and grade crossing eliminations.
The project team has engaged in an unprecedented level of public outreach with a broad range of individuals and organizations, including community groups, elected and appointed officials, businesses, and residents. Many of the Project’s elements and construction impact minimization measures are the direct result of input given by the public. A series of environmental and community commitments were developed over the course of the planning phase in coordination with many stakeholders along the Project corridor.