MTA Press Releases

Press Release
November 5, 2020
MTA Announces Acceleration of Elevator Replacement Project in Upper Manhattan

191 St Station Elevator Replacement Will Be Completed Two Months Ahead of Schedule

181 St Elevator Project Timeline Accelerated by Three Months

Alternative Bus Service Options Available

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced early completion of elevator replacements at the 191 St station. The project will be completed later this month, two months ahead of its originally projected Feb. 2021 completion. The elevators were initially closed on Feb. 1, and on track to reopen ahead of schedule following safety, fire and operation testing.

Due to the early completion of the 191 St elevators, the Authority has announced the acceleration of the 181 St elevator replacement project timeline. The 181 St project was slated to begin in March 2021 but is now scheduled to begin on Dec. 5 and be completed by Dec. 2021.

The work at 181 St will include:

  • Full replacement of four elevators and machine room equipment.
  • New LiftNet system to improve incident response time.
  • Battery back-up system that would allow customers to exit an elevator even during a power outage.
  • Installation of CCTV and fire alarms (two cameras per elevator).
  • Adding direct access to the northbound platform from the new elevators.

“This is the new way MTA approaches projects. During the pandemic, we actually accelerated projects to get more done while ridership is low,” said Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development. “With today’s milestone we have now successfully completed eight elevator projects during the pandemic, and I look forward to maintaining that momentum on work throughout the MTA system.”

“Our customers deserve high functioning elevators,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of New York City Transit. “Since the start of this vital project, we have vowed to engage transparently with the community, and have put together a detailed plan to assist the customers who will see their commutes change due to the work.”

The 181 St station opened in 1906 and is listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. Elevators in the station reach a depth of 122 feet below ground.

The elevator replacement work is part of broader elevator replacement work at five separate “deep” stations in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan—168 St, 181 St, 191 St on the 1 line; 181 St and 190 St on the a line. For many customers there, the elevators are utilized both for accessing the subway as well as more easily traversing the neighborhood’s unique, steep topography.

The MTA announced the early completion of the 168 St elevator replacement in Dec. 2019. On the A line, the 181 St elevator replacement was completed on schedule and reopened on Aug. 2. The final A line station, 190 St, is in progress and scheduled to reopen Sept. 2021.

Bus Service Options

To accommodate affected customers the MTA has outlined a robust alternative bus service travel plan. Customers wishing to travel to the 181 St station should use the M3 bus, which operates 24/7. NYC Transit will monitor customer volume and will provide additional bus service between 168 St and 191 St stations if needed. Customers can also use the M101 if they are traveling on Amsterdam Av.

Northbound M3 buses will not stop at 181 St due to the construction site. Customers looking to get off at that stop should get off at 179 St or 184 St instead. Bx3 and Bx36 customers traveling towards the Bronx will get off at the Bx11-Bx13-Bx35 stop on the southwest corner of 181 St and St. Nicholas Ave.

Full schedules and additional information on the project is available here.