The Hudson Yards Concrete Casing protects the tunnel alignment beneath the Hudson Yards development on the west side of Manhattan. Construction of the first, 244m (800ft) section (between 10th and 11th Avenues) began in August 2013 and was completed about a year later. The second section extended the project west another 32m (105ft) under the 11th Avenue viaduct in Manhattan and was completed in 2018.

Section 3 extends the casing on a diagonal alignment from the western edge of 11th Avenue to 30th Street, where it will connect with the new Hudson River Tunnel, providing access for trains that will use the new Hudson Tunnel into New York Penn Station. This portion of the project is expected to be complete in 2026.

The milestone was marked as the US government pledged another US$3.8bn for the Gateway program, taking the federal share of the project to more than 70%.

The US$16bn Gateway Program involves building the new 3.9km two-tube Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River, between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City’s Penn Station, and refurbishing Amtrak’s existing 112-year-old North River rail tunnel, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Announcing the additional federal funding, senator majority leader Charles Schumer said the Gateway project was a passion for him.

“After many false starts and obstacles placed in our way, Gateway is full speed ahead with billions in federal dollars I secured ready to go towards this critical work and construction,” he said. “Gateway’s future is assured and the most important public works project in America is all systems go. I’ve long cautioned the potential failure of one or both of the only two rail tunnels running under the Hudson River is one of the most pressing issues facing New York City.”

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing “will quite literally pave the way toward the construction of the long-awaited Hudson Tunnel, an integral element of the Gateway Program that will increase connectivity within one of the most heavily trafficked transportation corridors in the country”.

In October, a Notice to Proceed was issued for the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation project, which will mark the beginning of the Hudson Tunnel Project in New Jersey.