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MTA Announces Rehabilitation Project of the Metro-North Park Avenue Viaduct

Metro-North Railroad
Updated December 21, 2022 4:15 p.m.

$382 Million Investment in Initial Phase of Replacing Vital Tracks Along Main Artery Carrying All Metro-North Trains Into and Out of Grand Central Terminal    

Construction & Development’s First Project Labor Agreement Creates Cost Savings  

Training and Union Job Opportunities for Harlem Residents

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that MTA Construction & Development (C&D) will award a $382 million Design-Build contract to begin reconstruction efforts on the Park Avenue Viaduct in East Harlem. The contract, which will be awarded following MTA Board approval, represents the first phase of a long-term project. All Metro-North Railroad trains traveling along the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines must utilize the Park Avenue Viaduct to access Grand Central Terminal, totaling 98 percent of all Metro-North trains. The mile and a quarter stretch encompasses four Metro-North tracks between 110th Street and the Harlem River Lift Bridge.   

This project will replace major segments of the elevated steel structure, nearly half of which was first constructed in 1893, to ensure a state of good repair. The work will include replacing existing structures, tracks, power, communications, and signal system from the north side of East 115th Street to the south side of East 123rd Street. The project is expected to reduce local noise and vibration levels compared to those from the existing viaduct by utilizing modern design and materials.   

As a part of this project, MTA will enter into a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity, its participating affiliated Local Unions and their members (BCTC). The agreement – representing the first PLA since the creation of C&D – is a commitment to working with union partners to improve labor efficiency and reduce costs on capital projects without compromising worker pay or safety. Cost savings are expected through improved work rules – such as unified holidays, 40-hour work weeks, flexible start times, and maximum use of apprenticeships – as well as enabling health insurance reforms that provide better treatment of workplace injuries and reduce lost time. 

“Hundreds of trains carrying thousands of customers cross the viaduct every day,” said Metro-North Railroad President and Long Island Rail Road Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “This multi-million investment in repairing and rehabilitating the Park Avenue Viaduct is essential to the future of Metro-North and to the riders who depend on it.”  

“Replacing the Park Avenue Viaduct is essential to Metro-North and the region and C&D is proud to be using innovative new tools to deliver it efficiently and effectively,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “Through MTA C&D’s first Project Labor Agreement, we've developed a partnership with labor that will benefit all parties, improve labor efficiency, lower long-term costs, and provide meaningful pathways into union jobs for local residents. Thank you to the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York and Vicinity, and the participating affiliated local unions; we look forward to getting the job done together.”  

As part of the PLA, the MTA and BCTC are also working together to provide meaningful training and job opportunities for the local residents of Harlem. With partners in the Apprenticeship Readiness Collective, the MTA and BCTC commit to providing pre-apprenticeship training for Harlem residents that have real pathways into union jobs created by the construction of the project.  

“As New York continues its economic bounce back, regular investment into critical development projects, like the Park Avenue Viaduct, that not only improve and modernize our city’s infrastructure, but also create thousands of good-paying union jobs for our working-class people is crucial,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “The MTA should be commended for maintaining their commitment to providing our tradesmen and tradeswomen sustainable career opportunities through a Project Labor Agreement, along with their continued support of workforce development in our local neighborhoods. We, along with the Apprenticeship Readiness Collective, look forward to training and providing a highly skilled workforce to drive forward this important infrastructure upgrade, and creating an accessible path to the middle class for individuals from marginalized communities and diverse backgrounds via a career in the unionized construction industry.”

“I commend all who worked to help bring this revitalization of the MTA Metro-North Railroad’s (MNR) viaduct along Park Avenue in East Harlem to fruition,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Renewal of this long awaited projected will help address and ensure equitable transportation and accessibility for all who call New York home.”  

“Today's announcement of a contract award to begin the work needed to replace or rehabilitate major segments of the Park Avenue Viaduct is extremely welcome news,” said New York State Senator Shelley B. Mayer. “Thousands of Westchester Metro-North travelers rely on safe, efficient travel along the Park Avenue Viaduct on a regular basis, and this important work will ensure that safety, efficiency and timely train service will remain the priority of the system. I am grateful to the MTA, all our legislative partners and the riding public for their continued support of necessary improvements to the Metro-North system. Congratulations on achieving this milestone.”

"Train travel should be clean, efficient, timely and affordable, but most importantly it needs to be safe,” said New York State Assembly Member Amy Paulin, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. “I commend the MTA for taking on this extensive project to update key Metro-North infrastructure which helps ensure a safe daily commute for riders. It is also terrific that it is being done in a way that is minimally intrusive to the surrounding neighborhoods, and is not disruptive to the commuters who rely on Metro-North. Improvements such as this not only benefit our commuters, but ultimately support our region’s economy and all New Yorkers.”

“The Park Avenue Viaduct project is essential to upgrading our outdated and aging transit infrastructure,” said New York State Assembly Member Edward Gibbs. “While projects of this size will cause disruptions to nearby businesses and residents, I look forward to working with the MTA to ensure this project is completed quickly and as safely as possible for the people of East Harlem.”