NEW YORK (PIX11) — It has been talked about for decades and the shovels are finally ready.  

The first phase of the Gateway Tunnel project begins next week on the New York and New Jersey side.  

Two new tracks will be built during a later phase of the work under the riverbed. It will double the current capacity. 

Behind the fence between 11th and 12th Avenues at West 30th Street, the transformation is about to begin above ground and 40 feet below.  

The Gateway Development Commission installed a decorative mesh around the fence at the construction staging site. It features artwork by Marisa Jahn.

Riders are anxious to see the work and the benefits of the transit resiliency project.  

It will cost more than $16 billion and is scheduled to take a decade. In September, the contracts were approved.  

“Over the past year, a lot of the things that kept me up at night have been worked through,” said Alicia Glen, the co-chair of the Gateway Development Commission. 

The first section of work in New York is under the High Line. On the New Jersey side, it starts along Tonnelle Avenue. The street will be reconfigured to go over the entrance of the new tunnels. Utilities will also be relocated. 

Concrete casings are built first. It is a big box that connects to the actual tunnels.  

The current structure is more than 110 years old.  

In July, the federal government came through with a $6.88 billion grant.  

Both states have also contributed and partnered with Amtrak. 

Boring machines will plow through the muck to create structures for two tracks. That is a later phase of the work.  

The Portal Bridge in Kearny, New Jersey, is also being rebuilt.