A Finding of No Significant Impact was determined by FRA based on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) that examined the potential environmental impacts associated with preserving the additional right-of-way in the John D. Caemmerer West Side Yard (also referred to as Hudson Yard). The additional ROW would be preserved by constructing an extension to the concrete casing under the Eastern Rail Yard addressed in the March 2013 EA. The concrete casing extension (Extension) proposes extending the concrete casing under 11th Avenue to 30th Street. The Extension would be 605 feet long, between 50 and 65 feet wide and between 27 and 38 feet tall under the Western Rail Yard of the Hudson Yards. The Extension is proposed at this time because construction under the 11th Avenue bridge is dependent on the reconstruction schedule of the MOE building and its ancillary tracks; and the ROW under Western Rail Yard needs to be preserved prior to the construction of the Overbuild Project foundations. The underground concrete casing would preserve a total ROW approximately 1400 feet long for the possibility of future expansion of rail service between New Jersey and New York and supports Amtrak’s efforts to improve resiliency in response to future disasters in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak has prepared an Environmental Assessment for the construction of an underground concrete casing (the “proposed Project”) to preserve a right of way (ROW) for the future expansion of rail service between New Jersey and New York and to support Amtrak’s efforts to improve rail system resiliency to future disasters in the Northeast Corridor. The right-of-way preservation is proposed at this time since a real estate development corporation, under an agreement with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), is constructing a development in the area above Hudson Yards. This development (referred to as the overbuild project) has all necessary local and state approvals and started construction in the southern portion of Hudson Yards (south of proposed Project site) in December 2012.
Amtrak proposes to construct the concrete casing in conjunction with the overbuild project to preserve a viable location as an option for a future tunnel into Penn Station, New York. Once the real estate developer has built the immense foundations and platform for the overbuild project, it will be infeasible for Amtrak to construct a tunnel underneath the overbuild project. The proposed underground concrete casing involves construction of an underground rectangular structure that is 800 feet long, 50 feet wide, and approximately 35 feet high. Amtrak anticipates constructing the proposed Project using federal funding.