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Reports: MTA Considering Big Balloons, Floodgates For Subway Flood Protection

Subway Train

A D train arrives. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering using floodgates and what one published report calls “giant balloons” as precautions in case a superstorm deluges the subway system again.

Reports by the New York Daily News and DNAInfo said MTA officials said Monday that they were considering inflatable bladders or steel floodgates to protect the system from flooding, as well as more pump trains and protections for signals and power supplies.

A model for the “balloon structures” to close off tunnels is being tested at West Virginia University, DNAInfo reported.

Custom-built covers to keep water out of subway entrances are also under consideration, DNAInfo reported.

At a meeting of the MTA Transit Committee, New York Transit President Thomas Prendergast said another storm similar to Sandy is inevitable, and the system must be better prepared, the publication reported.

In the days afterward, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said the New York City subway system “has never faced a disaster as devastating” as the damage that was caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded as an unprecedented 13-foot storm surge cascaded water into lower Manhattan.