R Train Recovers from Superstorm Sandy

September 16, 2014
By Stephanie West

New York, NY – Normal R subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan has been restored in New York City. The Montague Tube subway tunnel used by the R train daily, was inundated with salt water during Superstorm Sandy. Over 27 million gallons of water poured into a 4,000-foot stretch of the tunnel during the devastating Sandy storm. Every element of subway infrastructure was corroded from electronic signal equipment to tunnel lighting to the steel rails themselves.

The $250 million project was completed during an unprecedented full shutdown of the Montague Tube subway tunnel under the East River.

“Superstorm Sandy brought incredible destruction down on the New York City subway system – but we’re taking another huge step forward to repair the damage and strengthen the system to withstand the next major storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “This tunnel is safer, stronger and more resilient than ever before, and everything on this section of the R train is new – new rails, new signals, new pumps and new power supplies. We’ve made it a top priority to reimagine our state to withstand the new reality of extreme weather.”

The Montague Tube was shut down August 3, 2013 to allow workers unfettered access to remove damaged equipment from the two tunnels and demolish concrete and terra cotta duct banks in both tubes that had collapsed. Construction crews had to enter the 4,000-foot section under the East River from entry points in Manhattan and Brooklyn, removing all debris and bringing in all equipment and tools through the tunnels themselves. Crews replaced 11,000 feet of track, 30,000 feet of concrete and terra cotta duct banks, 75,000 feet of power cable and 200,000 feet of communications cable.

MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, “New York’s transit network suffered more damage during Sandy than anyone at the MTA has ever seen in our lifetimes. The effort required to rebuild the Montague Tube was nothing short of heroic. It took more than a year of round-the-clock reconstruction in difficult conditions, but we have restored the R train with a smoother and more reliable ride in a tunnel built to handle future climate risks.”

September 16, 2014

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