The MTA has reassessed the timeline for a portion of the Second Avenue Subway construction project, quietly raising new questions about whether it will open on time in December.
The MTA now says the elevator and escalator testing at the 72nd Street station won't be attempted until late November -- which means any glitch would jeopardize its opening, unless the MTA decides to skip opening that station and proceed with opening the 63rd, 86th and 96th street stations first, according to transit advocates closely watching the project.
Another new potential delay is that fire safety tests that were supposed to have been done by now will not happen until Sept. 30.
Work is continuing around the clock, but the project manager told MTA board members Monday that the testing of the systems need to ramp up in order to meet the deadline.
The first phase of the long-awaited subway line, which runs between 63rd to 96th streets, is set to open Dec. 31. MTA officials have maintained they're confident the subway will open by Dec. 31, although federal officials last year predicted it wouldn't open until February 2018.
MTA CEO and chair Tom Prendergast said Monday, "We want to keep the pressure on. There isn't a person that wants to rush it into service when it's not ready. We'll keep you updated."
It's the first time an MTA official has expressed even a kernel of doubt about the timing of the subway opening. But Upper East Side residents aren't exactly surprised.
"Mainly we would like to get it finished but we just no longer believe the schedules," said a skeptical John Dizard.
"December? Never. Not gonna happen," said Susan Bluestone.
The new assessment of the timeline was contained in MTA briefing materials which popped online late Friday afternoon. The project manager said Monday he believes the subway can still be completed on time -- but the tests are crucial points for opening, and those still need to be done.