Weekend Construction Vital to Keep Subways Running
Service along segments of three subway lines will be severely disrupted this weekend as crews make necessary infrastructure improvements that can only be performed with the suspension of train service. Pressing maintenance work along the No. 7 Line will halt all service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza while F and G service will be curtailed due to the ongoing rehabilitation of the Culver Line Viaduct.
New York City is a 24-hour town and the subway system reflects that activity, making it virtually impossible to perform major maintenance and system improvement projects during the week.
Often such jobs must be performed under what we call a 55-hour weekend General Order G.O. A "G.O." suspends subway service in the area so that maintenance workers can perform their tasks uninterrupted and without interference from passing trains.
In some instances, several hundred feet of track will be removed and replaced during these weekend service suspensions, a task that would not be possible solely during overnight hours. Additionally, to increase efficiency, work is usually piggybacked, meaning several projects may be performed at the same time so that we do not have to shut that area down for other jobs.
"The two major subway maintenance projects taking place this weekend -; one in Queens and one in Brooklyn -- will affect thousands of subway customers but also highlight the ongoing need for infrastructure improvements to an aging system that never rests," said Carmen Bianco, Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways. "The only way we can perform this work is by suspending service. It is inconvenient for our riders, but this work is crucial to the safe and efficient operation of the system."
The weekend work that is part of the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation Project will necessitate changes to F and G service. Beginning at 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 20 and continuing until 5 a.m. Monday, May 23, F train service will be out between Jay Street-MetroTech and 18th Avenue and there will be no G service between Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets and Church Avenue. Both lines will operate in two sections and shuttle bus service will replace trains along the F Line.
Much-needed repairs and improvements are being made to Brooklyn's Culver Line including the rebuilding of the viaduct, track replacement and signal and switch renewal. We are also restoring the platforms, canopies and the historic arch at the 4th Avenue-9th Street station. This $275 million engineering and construction project is necessary to rehabilitate the steel and concrete viaduct which first opened in 1933 as part of the IND system. The project area stretches from the tunnel portal south of the Carroll Street station to the portal south of Fourth Avenue.
An aging signal system and water-related issues in the vicinity of the Vernon-Jackson station in Long Island City have caused service delays along the No. 7 Flushing Line. Work scheduled for this weekend includes signal circuit repair, removal of silt and muck from the roadbed, power system improvements in the area and repairs to the Steinway tube, including grouting of tunnel walls to address water intrusion.
A key cause of the recent delays will be eliminated as a result of our work in the area, but will require some travel headaches. Meanwhile, a longer-term project to install a state-of-the-art signaling system is also underway and this project will require further suspensions in service. The signals controlling train traffic on the Flushing Line are anywhere from 50 to 90 years old and in need of replacement. The contract for the installation of a modern, Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system was awarded in June of 2010 with a substantial completion date of late 2016.
Customers are being alerted to planned service changes through station signage, train announcements and the MTA website. For up-to-date and accurate service information, customers should log onto mta.info early and often.