MTA Chair: Never a ‘Disaster as Devastating’

Buses back with limited service 5 p.m. Tuesday, bridges re-opened, but no timeline on subways following the "havoc" wreaked by Hurricane Sandy on "entire system."


Brooklynites had better embrace the bus system, because that’s all we’re going to have until further notice.

Buses will begin limited service on a Sunday schedule at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will resume a full schedule Wednesday. Both days will be free. But because of extensive damage to the subway system during Hurricane Sandy, there is no timeline on when the subways will re-open, an MTA spokeswoman said.

The Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch-Queensboro bridges have all re-opened, according to the DOT, so there is access to Manhattan. 

But there is going to be a wait for the subways, which were damaged by the salt water, which is particularly corrosive of the subway system.

In a statement posted on the MTA’s website Tuesday morning, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said on the transit authority’s website Tuesday morning that NYC’s subway system has never been hit as badly as it was Monday night.”

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region,” he wrote.

The storm caused flooding in seven subway tunnels and six bus garages, including the South Ferry station, which "is filled track to ceiling with water," he said.

Trees have also caused damage, including one that fell across the tracks on the Q and B line between Newkirk and Avenue H stations in Brooklyn (see photo gallery).

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (recently renamed the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) remains closed after being flooded “from end to end." The Queens Midtown Tunnel is also closed due to flooding. 

All major airports are closed Tuesday according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Runways are flooded and there are no flights leaving or arriving. How much damage was done to the navigation equipment and lighting around them we don’t know yet," he said in a news conference Tuesday.

To faciliate transportation, cabs are temporarily allowed to pick up multiple passengers, even if a passenger is already in the car, Bloomberg said.

Staten Island Ferry service is suspended until further notice as is the FDR Drive from the Battery to 155th Street, according to the NYC DOT. 

Commuter railroads were hit, too. Metro-North lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and has flooding in one East River tunnel, Lhota said.

MTA workers are currently assessing the damage and will restore the system as quickly as possible, he added.

But it will take awhile.

"Once water levels subside, the water must be pumped out and the tunnels thoroughly inspected by engineers. Subway trains and buses must be inspected along with 5,600 buses, 6,200 subway cars, 600 miles of tracks and 468 subway stations," Lhota said on the website. 

On the bright side, alternate side parking and meter regulations and are suspended again Wednesday, the DOT just announced. 

On a related note, NYC public schools will remain closed Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced. 

McCray -Mc October 30, 2012 at 05:56 PM
we are residents of the Empire State, guess what we are survivors. Stay positive,God Bless Us All
McCray -Mc October 30, 2012 at 06:00 PM
We, the constituents of Fort Greene / Clinton Hill are survivors. We can weather any storm. On a daily basis, we have overcome many obstacles and struggles. Yet we perservere. What I observed today amazed me, my neighbors were out assisting each other regardless of age, race or identity. We ban together. I am proud of us.


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