Park Ave Metro North Viaduct Replacement project Breaks Ground

A 130-year-old portion carrying trains from East 115th Street to 123rd Street in East Harlem will be the first part of the project $590 million Phase 1 portion of the massive rebuilding program. The steel viaduct originally opened in the 1890s replacing a wooden viaduct.

| 31 Oct 2023 | 11:28

The $590 million Phase 1 viaduct replacement project affecting All Metro-North Trains Into and Out of Grand Central Terminal on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines finally began preliminary work in late October.

“Carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers every day, the Park Avenue Viaduct is a critical piece of our transportation infrastructure,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “This replacement is essential to providing faster and safer service to our Metro-North customers, while minimizing impact to the local community.”

Areas underneath the viaduct have been cleared for the structure’s new foundations and columns that will support the brand-new structure that carries four Metro-North Railroad tracks along Park Avenue between East 110th Street and the Harlem River Lift Bridge.

Phase 1 will replace the Viaduct from East 115th to East 123rd Street; construction on this phase will occur from now through 2026. Work will involve replacing existing structures, tracks, power, communications, and the signal system.. Current activity underway is substructure construction, focusing on the viaduct’s foundations and columns. Phasing the work should minimize impacts on the surrounding community and Metro-North train schedules, that transportation agency says.

Funding was made available through the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan; of the $590 million, a large majority of funding is being paid for with Federal funds.

As a result of community feedback, in conjunction with the State Historic Preservation Office, project design elements will include: a more welcoming lighter color structure, improved lighting, and increased pedestrian safety under the viaduct. Utilizing modern design standards and materials, the new structure is expected to reduce local noise and vibration levels as compared to existing levels. Harlem-125th Street Station, pre-COVID, was the 3rd busiest on the Metro-North system, serving 5.3 million customers in 2019.

MTA Arts & Design is also coordinating a permanent art installation at 116th Street as part of the project, which builds on more than $24 million of recent MTA investment in the Harlem-125th Street Station area. Improvements made involve better lighting, station work, customer service kiosk enhancements, stairwell replacement, and the painting of other sections of the viaduct.

The one and a quarter mile-long elevated steel structure was originally built in 1893 to replace a previous wooden structure. The viaduct carries four Metro-North Railroad tracks above Park Avenue. It is a vital artery carrying riders to and from Grand Central Terminal and Harlem-125th Street station,used by 750 trains and 220,000 customers each weekday. 98% of Metro-North trains use the viaduct for service.

During construction expect travel delays when traveling in or out of Grand Central and 125th Street Stations, which will be reflected in future Metro-North train timetables.