skip to content
Projects

LIRR Expansion Project Preliminary Design and Environmental Impact Statement

Sustainable solutions and effective community outreach solidify public support for transformative rail project.
  • Rendering of the upgraded Mineola Station shows LIRR train arriving at platform - Gannett Fleming.

    The Mineola Station is one of five stations set to be transformed by the project.

  • Rendering shows street view of upgraded Westbury Station with new stairs leading to platform - Gannett Fleming.

    Expansion project construction was carefully planned to minimize community disruption.

  • Rendering of the Merillon Avenue Station shows upgraded elevator and stairwell building - Gannett Fleming.

    Station upgrades and capacity increases will enhance service for a half-million passengers weekly.

Client
MTA Long Island Rail Road

Partner(s)
AECOM, AKRF

Location
Nassau County, New York

Our Role
Planning, Architectural, and Engineering Services.

Data
Size
9.8 miles
Construction Cost
$2.6 billion
Completed
2018
Type
New Construction
Duration
11 months
Outcomes
  • Improved safety and reliability for 500,000 rail passengers each week
  • Enhanced public support for massive effort to increase rail capacity
  • Construction sequencing plans minimize community disruption

A landmark environmental impact statement (EIS) has set in motion a monumental effort to increase the capacity of the busiest commuter rail system in the country. The study is the backbone of the $2.6 billion LIRR Main Line Third Track Expansion Project, which will add a third track along a 9.8-mile stretch of the railroad’s Main Line corridor between Floral Park and Hicksville, eliminate seven street-level grade crossings, and upgrade five stations and railroad infrastructure. The work will be accomplished within an approximately 66-foot-wide corridor in Nassau County, one of the most densely populated suburban counties in the U.S., with an average of 4,765 residents per square mile. Expanding the railroad’s central artery will improve safety, service, and reliability for an estimated 500,000 passengers every week.

The Gannett Fleming-AECOM Rail Road Expansion Partnership, in association with AKRF, provided planning, architectural, and engineering services and leadership to deliver the final EIS in under a year—less than half the time it typically takes to complete a comparable transportation study. Quick delivery of the draft and final study were essential to avoid the fate of unsuccessful past LIRR Main Line third track efforts.

What We Did

Preliminary design work and the development of the draft EIS (DEIS) were accomplished concurrently instead of sequentially, as is more typical. This iterative process allowed the team to provide design solutions in accordance with New York environmental standards and advance the study efficiently while achieving sustainable outcomes. In accordance with the governor’s promise, the project was designed without a single residential property being taken, which is extraordinary for an infrastructure project of this magnitude.

To keep the project moving forward and address stakeholder concerns immediately, the team led weekly coordination calls involving LIRR, the Governor’s Office, New York Department of Transportation officials, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leadership. The public outreach plan involved community leaders and the public throughout the process. An estimated 1,100 people participated in six scoping hearings to provide input on the project. After the DEIS was published, the team extended the planned comment period, enabling approximately 1,000 people to attend six more hearings, gather information, and present their views. To maintain a high level of community support during construction, the final EIS contains plans for continuing public outreach that contractors are required to follow.

Key Features

  • 12 public hearings enabled 2,100 participants to provide input and gather information.
  • Coordination between major stakeholders facilitated problem solving and rapid project progress.
  • Community outreach plans in final study foster continuing public support.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • 5.95 miles of sound attenuation walls along the corridor mitigate noise impacts, preserving the quality of life in surrounding communities.
  • Eliminating grade crossings enhances traffic and pedestrian safety, reduces train horn noise, and virtually ends vehicle idling at intersections, improving air quality.
  • Drainage systems for seven intersection tunnels and elsewhere along the corridor protect against flooding during a 100-year-storm event.

Awards & Recognition

  • Gold Award, 2019, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York, Engineering Excellence Awards

Similar Projects: Engineering, Transit & Rail: Rail Stations & Intermodal Facilities, Transportation: Transit & Rail, Transportation, Engineering: Transportation