MTA Shares Storm-Fighting Resources
Snow-fighting personnel and equipment from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's family of agencies are being repositioned throughout the region to clear snow where the need is most urgent, without regard to agency jurisdictional boundaries. Specifically, New York City Transit has lent two shifts of 45 track workers and two snow-throwers to Metro-North Railroad. And the MTA's bus divisions and MTA Bridges and Tunnels have lent personnel along with 33 trucks, pay-loaders and other equipment for snow clearing in Suffolk County.
“These transfers of equipment and personnel are a direct result of the high level of interagency coordination – both within the MTA and between the MTA and our sister transportation agencies around the region – that takes place leading up to, during and after major weather events,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, MTA Interim Executive Director and President of MTA New York City Transit. “The process of interagency coordination began with a revamping of our agency emergency plans after we formalized our lessons learned from the snow storm of December 26, 2010.”
“Governor Cuomo has placed a high emphasis on interagency coordination and expanded it into a formalized process in which all parties are at the table and communicating through direct channels like never before,” said MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer. “We now know exactly what each agency is doing operationally, and where agency resources can be put so they will be able to deliver the highest benefit for the most people.”
With the impact of the storm less severe than it might have been in New York City, MTA New York City Transit has lent the services of 90 track workers and two heavy-duty rail-mounted snow throwers to Metro-North Railroad, which is using them to clear snow-covered tracks on the New Haven Line and its Connecticut branch lines. The snow throwers, which are usually used to clear snow from subway tracks, were being housed at the 239th Street Yard along the 2 Line in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. Early on the morning of Sunday, February 10, they were hoisted by crane onto flatbed trucks known as low boys and delivered to Metro-North's shop in North White Plains.
“These skilled track employees from NYC Transit, and their snow throwers will assist our own personnel and resources in clearing snow from the hard-hit territory in Connecticut,” said Howard Permut, President of Metro-North Railroad. “We're very appreciative of the help we were able to receive so quickly from New York City Transit, because it means that we'll be able to clear snow from hundreds of miles of track more quickly. We will be able to restore service more quickly than we otherwise would have as a result of this quick interagency transfer.”
Similarly, MTA Bridges and Tunnels sent a total of 24 pieces of snow-fighting equipment and about 45 workers and 120 tons of deicer, to help dig out streets and highways 50-60 miles outside of its operating territory in Brookhaven, Huntington, Medford and Yaphank. Operating in rotating shifts around the clock, some 16-17 hours long, the Bridges and Tunnels brigade plowed, salted and towed dozens of stuck vehicles, including a Suffolk County bus and a yellow school bus, from snow-clogged roadways.
And New York City Transit's Department of Buses together with the MTA Bus Company have lent more than 20 employees and nine heavy duty pay loaders to help clear roads in Suffolk County as well. Among their first activities were to plow parking lots of the LIRR's Ronkonkoma station, and clear snow from the Long Island Expressway. Working from exit 60 to exit 64, they created a third snow-free lane for traffic.
The Bridge and Tunnel trucks are usually used to clear snow and ice from the MTA's nine bridges and tunnels that weave together New York City's landmasses. “When we heard about the conditions that motorists were facing in Suffolk County, we didn't think twice about lending our trucks, in fact we scrambled to identify as many as we could,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara. “We're delighted to help because we know that Suffolk County would do the same for us if the tables were reversed.”