NEW YORK CITY-The 3.5-mile expansion of the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal could take an extra three years—and nearly $1 billion more. Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said at a meeting Monday evening that the estimated completion time for the agency’s East Side Access megaproject has been pushed back to August 2019 at a cost of $8.24 billion.

The project, originally expected to be completed by 2016 on a budget of approximately $7.2 billion, is based upon construction delays in both Manhattan and Queens. According to a presentation from the MTA, delays in the rebuilding and expansion of the Harold interlocking site – a one-mile swath connecting Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside Rail Yard and 43rd Street –resulted in schedule compression that “placed stress on resources and outages.” More specifically, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota told Long Island Business News that tunneling underneath the Queens rail yard near Jamaica where Amtrak and Acela store trains in addition to its own vehicles, has “become an issue.” In addition, environmental problems such as contaminated soil has also caused delays, he explained.

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