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A Closer Look at the Gateway Project

The two-tube concrete casing that preserves Amtrak’s right of way under the Hudson Yards development and the Long Island Rail Road yards west of Pennsylvania Station in July 2014, almost a year after construction began. The photograph shows how the parallel tubes, heavily reinforced with steel rods known as rebar, were built in an excavated open cut.

A concrete ceiling was later poured over the cut, making the tubes invisible from above. They make a gentle southwesterly curve between 10th and 11th Avenues, leading to West 30th Street, while descending slightly, at a 2 percent slope. Each of the tubes is about 20 feet wide, big enough to accommodate an Amtrak or New Jersey Transit train.

The most intriguing find during the current excavation was a structural timber at 11th Avenue and 30th Street. Struck and cut apart by pilings that were sunk to create a wall around the construction site, the timber came to light when earth around it was removed. Mid-19th-century maps show that the Hudson River shoreline ran along 11th Avenue. But there was a small, artificial peninsula projecting from 30th Street on which a saw mill operated. This timber may have been part of the structure underpinning that peninsula.

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