MTA: Major Repairs Are Needed Following Damage From Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 14-month shutdown of the R train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan has begun.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has decided to shut down the Montague Tunnel, which carries the R train under the East River, for more than a year so can repair signals, power cables and other equipment that was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

During the closure, the R train is not running between Court Street and Whitehall Street.

During the week, the train will run in two sections – between Bay Ridge and Court Street in Brooklyn, and between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Whitehall Street in Queens and Manhattan.

Weekend R train service will operate via the Manhattan Bridge. There will be no weekend R trains or late night N trains at the Jay Street-MetroTech, Court Street, Whitehall Street, Rector Street, Cortlandt Street and City Hall stations.

The MTA is advising riders to use the 2, 3, 4, 5, A and C trains instead. Ferry service to accommodate passengers who would normally use the R train will start on Monday.

The closure has forced an estimated 65,000 daily subway riders to switch to other routes.

“I’m frustrated, I’m mad,” one commuter said Friday. “I need to get to the city.”

“I just have to switch from the 4 train from Union Square to the 4 from the R,” said straphanger Rich Ballerini. “The 4 train is very crowded, so it’s kind of a hassle to switch because normally I can take the R all the way here.”

“It’s going to be probably about 15 more minutes having to walk to another station and then transferring trains,” said commuter Leslie Swiedler. “I wish I could take 14 months off from work, but unfortunately no.”

Nearly 27 million gallons of water flooded the tunnel during Sandy, submerging power lines and signal equipment in 20 feet of corrosive salt water for 10 days.

“Salt water and metal do not mix,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “It’s essentially rebuilding the tunnel from the ground up — replacing tracks, signals, pump rooms, everything.”

The MTA is calling Sandy-related work “fix and fortify” projects because crews will also be adding flood prevention and mitigation measures so the next big storm is not so devastating, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

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