Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced several Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) initiatives to permanently repair damage from Superstorm Sandy, flood-proof major sections of the New York City subway system and begin the planning process to fortify the region’s mass transit network.
Governor Cuomo also announced that service on the storm-damaged Rockaway line of the train will resume May 30 after an all-out, six-month MTA effort to rebuild 1,500 feet of washed-out tracks, replace miles of signal, power and communications wires, and rehabilitate two stations that were completely flooded. The new work included installing a corrugated marine steel sheet wall 30 feet into the soft soil of over two miles of the right-of-way along Jamaica Bay to protect the track against future washouts and ensure the line is ready to handle future coastal storms.
“Superstorm Sandy devastated the entire MTA network like no other storm, but the MTA did a remarkable job of restoring service following the storm and at the end of this month, the line in the Rockaways will be up and running,” Governor Cuomo said. “The last six months have meant substantial cleanup and repair, leading to the rapid restoration of full service in all but the hardest-hit facilities. Now we must focus on the priority and challenge of making permanent repairs to keep the subways safe and reliable for years to come because the people and businesses of New York depend on a strong and robust mass transit system. The difficult work of rebuilding the system to be stronger and more resilient has just begun, but we will build back better and smarter than before.”
MTA New York City Transit has also established a new Sandy Recovery and Resiliency Division dedicated to launching, advancing and managing the rebuilding from Sandy, which will require years of construction and careful oversight of billions of dollars in federal aid. Plans will call for protecting stations, fan plants, under-river tubes, tunnels, ground-level tracks, signals, train shops and yards, traction power substations, circuit breaker houses, bus depots, train towers and public areas. The goal is to protect all points where the subway system could be flooded during a storm.
The Sandy Recovery and Resiliency Division will draw on experienced engineers, project managers, procurement specialists and other in-house staff as well as employees of approved contractors to manage the rebuilding effort.
The Division has issued 16 task orders to six qualified architectural and engineering design firms which will design system repairs and study best practices from flood-proofing resiliency efforts around the world, investigate how they can be applied to the challenges of the New York City subway system, and develop schematic designs for construction. Starting this summer, they will present the first of a series of plans to protect vulnerable subway stations, tunnels, storage yards and other equipment from future storms and coastal flooding. Additional firms are being solicited to support future design and construction activities.
“Governor Cuomo has set a strong standard to protect the New York City subway system, and it is the same standard that our customers and employees expect,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast, who has been nominated to serve as the MTA’s next Chairman and CEO. “We are using all means available to jump-start this effort, so we can not only restore our system to the condition it was in before Sandy struck, but harden it against similar storms that we expect to arrive in the future.”
Preliminary assessments are due starting in July to protect a wide range of subway infrastructure, including entrances, ventilator gratings, vents, elevator shafts and openings, access hatches, emergency exits, manholes, utility entrances, escalators, machine rooms, pump rooms, sewer lines, conduit ducts, utility services, lighting, HVAC systems, fare collection equipment, building entrances and other right of way equipment. Specific projects include:
· Work to design and plan repair work in damaged under-river subway;
· Pump room augmentation;
· Plan and design work for flood mitigation at the Coney Island, 148th Street and 207th Street subway car yards and 12 ventilation plants in multiple low-lying areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx;
· Flood mitigation at the St. George Terminal and Clifton Shop of the Staten Island Railway;
The Clifton Shop and St. George Terminal task orders remain outstanding, pending proposals from vendors which will soon be delivered.
The MTA has some $250 million in other Sandy repair and recovery projects already underway throughout the city transit and commuter rail network. While temporary repairs have kept most of the MTA network running, it will take years to design and implement permanent recovery measures.
The South Ferry subway station was devastated and will need years of renovation work, while the old South Ferry loop station has been pressed into service in the meantime. Eight subway tubes under the East River and Newtown Creek were flooded with salt water, as were several subway yards and terminal stations.
MTA Metro-North Railroad and MTA Long Island Rail Road also suffered extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy, and work continues at both railroads to harden their track, signal and power systems to guard against high water levels in future storms. MTA Bridges and Tunnels is studying how to better protect crucial elements as well, and is replacing equipment and materials that are at higher risk of failure in the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels, which both flooded during the storm. In addition, Bridges and Tunnels will conduct a study, in keeping with recommendations by the NYS 2100 Commission, to examine what is needed to keep both Rockaway bridges in the highest state of good repair, particularly during extreme weather events. The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges were both heavily affected by high winds during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy and by flooding during Sandy.
The MTA system suffered an estimated $4.755 billion worth of damage as railroad and subway lines, vehicular tunnels, subway stations and power and signal equipment were inundated with corrosive salt water during Sandy. The MTA has already been allocated nearly $1.2 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for repair and disaster relief work initiated by New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road and other MTA divisions, as well as $3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.
The MTA’s transit projects will be eligible in the coming months for additional funds for critical repair and restoration projects, as well as mitigation and resiliency measures from the FTA's Emergency Relief program. MTA Bridges and Tunnels will also apply to FEMA for additional federal funding for recovery work at its seven bridges and two tunnels.