The Second Avenue Subway has been in the works for nearly a century, and New Yorkers shouldn't expect it to be completed any time soon. New documents uncovered by the Daily News show that the second phase of the line's development isn't expected to be finished until 2029.
The first section of the new line opened at the start of 2017, with three new stops at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets that essentially amounted to an extension of the Q into the Upper East Side. It took nearly 10 years of construction to complete, which was preceded by decades of starts and stops. The next phase will extend the line farther north, adding three new stations at 106th, 116th and 125th Streets, the last of which will connect to the Lexington Avenue Line. But, as is par for the course for the beleaguered project, its completion will be slow and expensive—the Daily News reports that the next segment will cost an estimated $6 billion.
The third and fourth phases of the project, which currently have no funding or public timeline, will eventually add a new subway line down Second Avenue from 63rd Street to a new terminal at Hanover Square. When it's complete, the new stretch will be dubbed the T, and will provide a north-to-south subway option that traverses nearly the entirety of Manhattan's East Side. If the news of the second phase's timeline is any indicator, the line won't be fully realized until the middle of the century.
For decades, the very mention of the Second Avenue Subway has been the source of laughter and disappointment. The first plan for the line was pitched in 1919 after the city saw a spike in subway ridership following World War I, but after two decades of planning, construction ceased in 1939. Another plan for the line popped up again in the 1950s, and the MTA even began construction on four different Second Avenue Subway segments in the 1970s. Governor Mario Cuomo put funding behind renewed planning for the project in the 1990s, and in 2001 the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the green light to begin engineering and designing its full length in 2001. Crews broke ground on the first phase in 2007, and it was originally scheduled to open in 2014 (that didn't happen).
What's more, the second phase of the line will open for service in 2029 only if the MTA begins construction in mid-2019, according to the Daily News. Any delays on that front would push back its opening into the subsequent decade. The pattern here is hard to miss.
The reported completion date isn't exactly new, though. In 2016, the FTA estimated that the second phase would open for service between 2027 and 2029—the documents unveiled by the Daily News simply confirm that timeline.