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Construction Begins On New LIRR Access Point At Grand Central Terminal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Signs of the new Long Island Rail Road concourse are starting to emerge at Grand Central Terminal.

On Tuesday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials started construction on one of several access points that will connect LIRR passengers with the terminal.

A white square and sealed off space at the west end of the lower level now marks the spot where two escalators will eventually emerge from the LIRR concourse being built below Grand Central.

The construction is taking place at what was a dining and sitting area. Dozens of displaced tables and chairs have been moved to other locations to seat hungry commuters.

"We have done a lot of structural work below ground in order to support Grand Central the same way it is today," said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA capital construction. "One of our first tasks was not to disturb or change the texture of Grand Central, and we are going to continue to do so."

It should be a two-minute escalator ride down 180 feet to the new LIRR concourse, which is expected to open in late 2022, WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported.

The new concourse will free up some LIRR space at Penn Station and Metro-North Railroad President Joe Giulietti said that may be the only way to significantly increase service.

"There is no way to increase that service with the capacity levels we are dealing with right now," he said.

Last week, Horodinceanu said the East Side access project is about 60 percent complete, and after years of slowdowns and cost overruns, the project is also on budget.

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