NYC Train Tunnel Project Could Tie Up Traffic for Three Years

NEW YORK (Reuters) -

Traffic jams could afflict New York City’s heavily traveled West Side Highway for three years as a multibillion-dollar train tunnel is built under the Hudson River, draft proposals obtained by Reuters show, feeding concern about an area already disrupted by massive real estate development.

The draft reveals for the first time the actual work necessary to begin building the massive tunnel linking New York and New Jersey. It represents a marquee component of Amtrak’s $24 billion Gateway Project to repair and expand the heart of the critical and lucrative northeast transportation corridor.

The plan is expected to become part of the draft environmental impact statement to be released next summer. Experts told Reuters that marine life in the Hudson could be threatened by the work zone that is expected to be the equivalent of four football fields in size. At its center point, rising up from the bottom of the riverbed, will be a concrete encasement built to protect the new tunnel.

The Gateway program is considered critical to the greater metropolitan New York City area, which produces 10 percent of the country’s economic output, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Construction would not begin until at least 2019, according to public records.

“The disruptions could be horrible,” the transportation sector source told Reuters.