Officials Say More Work Needs To Be Done On Terminal's Waiting Room

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nearly 10 months after Superstorm Sandy walloped Hoboken’s historic rail terminal, commuters will soon have a more comfortable place to go when they’ve gotta go.

NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein told the agency’s monthly board meeting on Wednesday that the restrooms off the terminal’s main waiting room will soon be open to the public.

“Effective Monday, the work to restore the bathrooms at Hoboken Terminal will be completed and the bathrooms will be open to the public for the first time since the storm,” Weinstein told 1010 WINS.

Temporary restrooms had been set up at the station after Sandy hit in late October.

Weinstein said the restrooms took so long to be restored because of the extensive damage they suffered when five feet of water spilled over the adjacent Hudson River and into the terminal. Fixtures and plumbing had to be replaced, he said.”In addition to new fixtures, we put in special walls that hopefully in the future will be more resistant to flooding and deterioration from water intrusion either from the river or from storms,” Weinstein said.

In tandem with Wednesday’s announcement, Weinstein said the waiting room will close again this fall so repairs can be completed. The waiting room reopened in late January, but wooden benches have remained covered in plastic as they await cleaning to remove mold and other toxins.

“We’ve made special provisions to keep them [the restrooms] open when we have to close the main waiting room down for about six to eight weeks in the early fall,” Weinstein said. “We still have a lot of work to do there, but we didn’t want to have to close the bathrooms down just a couple of weeks after we open them up.”

The waiting room repairs should start by early October and be finished by the beginning of December. The repair of the benches is more complex because it involves a heating system underneath that was destroyed by the storm, Weinstein said.

The station’s vendors’ area could reopen soon after.

“This is not like a stick building where you can slap up some new drywall,” Weinstein said. “We are going about this carefully. This terminal has been around for 100 years and we want to make sure it’s around for another 100.”

Limited NJ TRANSIT rail service out of Hoboken resumed within a week of the storm under diesel power. Due to damage to an electrical substation that supplies power to the station, electric train service wasn’t restored until late March.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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