Governor Andrew Cuomo will not let the MTA back away from its New Years Eve deadline for finishing the first phase of the new Second Avenue Subway. The governor is cautiously optimistic, but like many other New Yorkers, he’s not holding his breath. The long delayed arm of the Q line (with some rush hour N trains) has been talked about and planned for nearly a century.
After an initial start 1972-75 that was halted when the city went bankrupt, the line has been under construction since 2007. It will run between 96th St. with stops at 86th St. and 72th St before connection with the current Q line. The biggest subway extension in 50 years, the initial phase of this project has the price tag of $4.4 billion to build.
A Look Back On Some On-The-Job Injuries
Like any major construction project, there have been hundreds of workers helping bring the line to realization, and there have been many injuries and safety violations along the way. This is not unusual considering the magnitude and complications involved.
According to a 2014 NY Daily article, OSHA had cited the project for 18 safety violations and $61,000 in fines through June of 2013. Notably there were Silica citations in 2013 for exposing workers to three times the acceptable level because their safety equipment wasn’t adequate. Then there was what was supposed to be a controlled blast that actually sent chunks of rock and debris several stories into the air and blew out windows.
2014 also saw construction worker Ashanti Stupart suing the New York City and the MTA for $50 million, claiming that the project was an unsafe workplace. His left leg was shattering in an accident while he and another worker were pouring concrete using a flexible hose.
It took four hours to rescue 51-year-old Joseph Barone, who was stuck chest-deep in a quicksand like muck on the tunnel floor. Three of his rescuers were also injured in the process. Another worker fell 20 feet after fixing a conveyer belt. Strangely no one at the time could help officials find the exact location of the accident to investigate.
Will The Final Push Be Safe?
The MTA needs to get through 608 safety tests before the line can officially open. With only about half of those done by the end of June in 2016, workers are hustling to make it past this hurdle. Whether it makes its December 31 deadline, eventually the subway line will open.
Hopefully no one will get injured in the home stretch. With no reported deaths on this project, unlike the East Side Access, phase one draws to a close without a death. Not every project is so lucky. If you were injured in a work accident or lost a family member working on a construction project, there will likely be compensation. But the wise course of action is to seek out a personal injury attorney with experience in construction accidents. Medical bills can be massive with additional co-pays and other expenses unrelated to the actual medical treatment. This is to say nothing of the pain and anguish of going through such an ordeal.