April 15, 2010

Countdown In The Launch Box

As I've blogged before, New York City is currently in the midst of the biggest expansion of its mass transit network in decades. There are four projects underway tunneling beneath the city to build the new 7 line extension, the LIRR Grand Central terminal, a new Hudson tunnel for NJ Transit and the biggest project of them all, the long-delayed Second Avenue Subway.

After months of blasting, the actual tunneling far beneath 2nd avenue is set to begin later this spring. The launchbox, a large cavern where a TBM (tunnel boring machine) is assembled and set in motion, is ready to go. The TBM itself weighs roughly 485 tons, thus the big assembly launch/box. It just arrived in Newark last week.

There are some remarkable photos and videos of this machine (as well as the launch box) posted on a blog following the project called, of course, The Launchbox. The blog will be counting down the days to the start of tunneling from 96th to 63rd street.

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