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MTA Replaces First Segment of Metro-North Railroad Park Avenue Viaduct

Construction & Development
Updated Jun 12, 2024 9:30 a.m.
crews installing prefabricated bridge unit as part of replacing the first segment of the Park Ave Viaduct

130 Track-Feet of Bridge Replaced Over the Weekend With No Impact to Train Service     
View Time Lapse Video of Segment Replacement 
View Photos of Segment Replacement 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it has successfully replaced the first section of the aging 130-year-old Park Avenue Viaduct without disrupting Metro-North service. This represents a major step toward ensuring this critical transportation infrastructure remains in a state of good repair and enables Metro-North to continue safely delivering record on-time performance.      
The Park Avenue Viaduct is an elevated steel structure that carries four Metro-North Railroad tracks and serves all Metro-North trains traveling into and out of Grand Central Terminal, totaling 750 trains every weekday. This past weekend’s operation utilized two gantry systems which extend over the viaduct to remove and replace the existing concrete and steel bridge deck with new prefabricated bridge units, weighing around 190,000 pounds each. This innovative approach helped MTA Construction & Development, in partnership with Metro-North Railroad, perform this work better, faster, and cheaper and without significant disruption for riders. Watch this simulation video of the replacement operation.   
“The seamless replacement of the first segment of the Park Avenue Viaduct is a great example of the innovative approach we take to delivering critical projects better, faster, and cheaper,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “Innovation, along with strong project management, will help us to deliver this mega project on time and on budget with little to no impacts to service.”     
“All Metro-North trains to and from Grand Central Terminal pass over the Park Avenue Viaduct, which is more than 130 years old,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “Replacement of this structure is a priority state of good repair project that is critical to our ability to provide safe and reliable service.  We are thrilled that this project is underway, and we will continue to work closely with MTA Construction & Development to minimize impacts to our service.”      
Phase 1 of the project, extending from East 115th Street to East 123rd Street along Park Avenue includes replacement of the existing steel structure as well as new tracks, power, communications, and signal systems. Substructure construction to replace the viaduct’s foundations and columns began in September 2023 and construction for Phase 1 will continue through 2026. This first round of work is part of the $590 million earmarked for the first phase of the Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement project, of which $500.9 million is federally funded.     
The entirety of the Park Avenue Viaduct runs from the entrance of the Park Avenue Tunnel at East 97th Street to the Harlem River, however, the Park Avenue Viaduct Replacement project focuses on the structural elements in need of repair dating from the 1890s between East 110th Street and the Harlem River Lift Bridge, spanning 1.8 miles.  
For more information about the project, including renderings of the full Park Avenue Viaduct replacement, visit the project webpage.   
Metro-North Railroad Service Reliability    
The reconstruction of the viaduct will ensure the railroad continues to provide safe and reliable Metro-North train service. For the first four months of this year, the railroad averaged an on-time performance of 98.7% - notably, February’s on-time performance was 99.3% - and the service-delivered rate, a service reliability measure, averaged 99.9% for the first four months.    
With annual ridership doubling since 1983, Metro-North is one of the most heavily traveled commuter railroads in the country. As ridership and demand grows, major structures serving the vast majority of Metro-North customers are more than 100 years old and in need of replacement, including the Grand Central Terminal train shed, the Park Avenue Tunnel and the Park Avenue viaduct. All three of these structures make up the Grand Central Artery, appropriately named for its fundamental role in Metro-North service and operational reliability.