FILE - NY Subway 11-19-2020

A sparsely populated subway car is seen Nov. 19, 2020, in New York.

(The Center Square) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is proceeding with a $2.87 billion project to bring Metro-North trains from the Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut into Manhattan’s Penn Station.

The MTA has awarded a design-build contract to Halmar International, LLC/RailWorks, J.V. for the Penn Station Access Project. Officials expect the project to take 63 months to complete.

The project will bring the Hell Gate Line on the Northeast Corridor into a state of good repair, add four new stations, rehabilitate four bridges, and reconfigure Metro-North’s New Rochelle Yard. It will also convert the current two-track line into a “largely” four-track one with more than 19 miles of new and rehabilitated track.

“Access to Penn Station is completely transformative for Metro-North and we are excited to begin the service upon completion of the project,” Catherine Rinaldi, president of MTA Metro-North Railroad, said in an announcement.

“This will be the railroad’s largest expansion in history – four new stations is no small thing,” Rinaldi added. “This gives Metro-North’s busiest line a second route into Manhattan for the first time, redundancy that’s all the more important as the railroad looks to pursue major capital renewal projects on the route to Grand Central – namely the Park Avenue Viaduct and the Park Avenue Tunnel.”

Amtrak will chip in $500 million for the project and cover delay costs if it does not meet “commitments to provide outages or workforce.”

“Penn Station Access will help countless Bronxites with more efficient commutes, which will also open up job possibilities, while reducing congestion on our roads,” Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said in an announcement.