By JOSEPH LOPEZ
After nearly a century of delays and dead ends, New York City’s long-
proposed Second Avenue Subway line finally opened to the public on Jan. 1.
The completion of this first phase of the project — with stations along the East Side of Manhattan at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets — could not have been achieved without the diligence and determination of the handful of members from Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375, who have worked on the development since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority made it a priority roughly a decade ago.
“There’s a real feeling of accomplishment seeing the Second Avenue Line running at last,” said Senior Code Enforcement Official Lambert Egbuchulam. For eight years, Egbuchulam has been involved in the venture, reviewing designs of tunnels and stations to make sure that all engineering and safety practices were being met so that eventual riders of the line would have a safe commute.
Egbuchulam said that numerous issues, more than 1,000, were raised and resolved in the design phase before construction even began. He issued the work permits for all of the new stations, in addition to inspecting the stations once building was complete.
“There were many obstacles, but we transcended all of the problems and achieved a great addition to the subway line that will benefit many New Yorkers every day,” Egbuchulam said.
While Egbuchulam wasn’t at the Second Avenue line’s official opening on New Year’s Day, he did get to test ride the train. He is now involved in the design of Phase 2 of the expansion of the line, which will extend to Harlem and include three more stations. The goal is to have this design done by 2018.
Things have definitely come a long way since 1919, when the idea of having a train along Second Avenue was first proposed.