Rebuilding the Rockaways After Hurricane Sandy
Fare-Free Shuttle replaces portion of Line in Rockaways
With the prospect of Rockaway Line service being disabled for the next several months due to the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy, the MTA took the unprecedented action of moving subway cars by flatbed truck onto the Rockaway Peninsula and setting up a temporary train shuttle service. The 60-foot, 80,000 pound R32-type subway cars that will be used for this special shuttle service were loaded onto flatbed trucks in Ozone Park, Queens and trucked across the Cross Bay Boulevard Bridge and placed back on the rails at Rockaway Park. Once there, they were prepared for operation. In all, 20 cars were transported over four nights.
As of 5 a.m., Tuesday, November 20, the Fare Free Shuttle runs between the Far Rockaway-Mott Av. station and Beach 90 St making all intermediate stops.
The Howard Beach-Far Rockaway shuttle bus will continue to run 24/7. Normal trains operate between 207th St and the Howard Beach-JFK AirTrain station and the Lefferts Blvd station.
The Devastating Impact of Sandy
The high winds and heavy tidal surge generated by Hurricane Sandy effectively destroyed hundreds of feet of the line mainline connection to the Rockaway Peninsula, leaving 35,000-daily customers without a direct rail link to Howard Beach. The scope of the destruction was stunning. The North Channel Bridge, which connects Howard Beach and Broad Channel over Jamaica Bay, as well as a section of Broad Channel known as "The Flats" sustained a tremendous amount of damage. Hundreds of feet of track were destroyed on the bridge and the line segment that runs through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. There is no working signal system, the rails are twisted and in some areas, the supporting roadbed is completely washed away. The Broad Channel station was filled with debris, including a jet ski and a speedboat.
MTA NYC Transit is coordinating closely with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Wildlife Refuge on how best to take remedial action to stabilize the structure and minimize further erosion and begin clean-up efforts. Both of these actions require significant work because the tidal surge not only undermined the track structure for long lengths, but also created totally new tidal estuaries between the two bays on either side of the structure.
Damage Assessment and Work Underway to Restore Service
While detailed assessment efforts continue, the segment of the Rockaway Line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula will remain out of service for the next several months. The reconstruction will be a tremendous undertaking, requiring months of planning and labor. We have already begun repairing mainline track, and electrical components as well as every station along the Rockaway Peninsula from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Park.
Our Pledge to You
Before Sandy's arrival, we safely evacuated customers, and secured equipment to weather the storm, and with the intention of bringing service back as soon as we were safely able to do so. Taking into account the breadth of our service area as a whole, we've been able to accomplish a lot. After Sandy, we worked to bring bus and subway service back as swiftly as possible. These efforts are continuing, and for the most part, we are running close to normal subway service. But we realize until we resume full service, your commute will be longer. We appreciate your patience as we work to restore service.
You have our commitment—we will rebuild.
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