MTA chairman 'cautiously optimistic' the Second Avenue subway will open by end of 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016
MTA 'cautiously optimistic' the 2nd Ave subway will open by Dec. 31
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Tim Fleischer has the story on tunnel that's been almost a century in the works

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA chairman said he is "cautiously optimistic" the first stations on the long-promised Second Avenue subway will open by the end of the year.

The New Year is just three weeks away and work is continuing around the clock to try and stay on schedule.

Residents are waiting to see the train light at the end of this tunnel, a $4.5 billion first phase.

Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the line as seen in these pictures tweeted by his office this weekend.

The governor then tweeted, "Good news: the progress is encouraging. I'm optimistic about hitting the Jan. 1 deadline."

MTA board members heard from an independent engineer that testing is on track to be finished by December 23rd.

"We're on track to have those tests completed and we are cautiously optimistic we will meet the day," said Thomas Prendergast, MTA Chairman.

An opening date for five stations was not set.

Second Avenue above ground with its new lanes, parking spaces and bike lanes have replaced construction fencing, detours and dusty cramped sidewalks.

Sarah Wilkins lives and walks her dog "Madison" next to the 96th Street Station where workers are now busy getting the subway entrance ready.

"When they were pounding it was not fun. My neighbor who lives on the corner has had it worse than I have," Wilkins said.

Now people look in on the work and wonder about a New Year opening.

"From what I'm seeing I don't think they are ready. I don't think they will be ready. I say maybe by the end of January," said Hazel Rose, an area worker.

Still, others can't wait for the much needed subway extension to the Upper East Side.

"I'm looking forward to when it opens. I think it will save time and it will make it so I don't have to transfer which is always nice," said Robin Wasserman, an area worker.

The nearly $4.5 billion first phase of construction promised to open three new stations -- 72nd, 86th and 96th streets -- by the start of 2017. It was a timeline set seven years ago.