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(LISTEN) MTA Head Joe Lhota: How We Fixed the Flooded Subway

Monday, November 05, 2012 - 05:02 PM

MTA chairman Joe Lhota (L) speaking with an MTA worker. (Photo by MTA via flickr)

Listen to the conversation with WNYC's Amy Eddings below.

(New York, NY) Just one week after Hurricane Sandy turned New York City's subway tunnels into something out of Waterworld, service is back up and running on almost every line. But how?

MTA chairman Joe Lhota told WNYC the credit belonged to the agency's employees. "The workers of the Transit Authority...I will tell you I've never seen a bunch of people work so hard to get the system back up and running."

And here's how they did it: "They've been cleaning [signals] by hand, literally," he said. "First you had to pump out the water, then you had to wipe down the mud that was left down there, then you had to literally wipe down the rail, and then fix each and every one of the switches by cleaning them and making sure there was no salt to prevent the electric conductivity."

Lhota said after that process, the MTA then powered up the system and ran test trains before resuming service.

"We're making progress every day," he said, adding that the rest of the lines would be operating "soon."

"That's our intent, to be able to...get the L later in the week, get the G later in the week, getting all the other trains later in the week. We want to get the #1 train eventually down to Rector Street, we'll try to do that by the middle of the week...inch by inch, rail by rail, we're going to get there," he said on WNYC radio.

Later in the conversation Lhota told WNYC's Amy Eddings -- who relies on the G train to get to work: "You'll get the G soon. Can't tell you exactly when, but you'll get the G real soon."

What probably will take a little longer: retooling New York city's infrastructure to withstand future floods. "There are some more substantive things that need to be done," said Lhota, and "not just for the subway system...it should be a concerted effort on the part of the city and the state and taking the best minds in the architectural world and the water mitigation world and figure out what exactly can we do to prevent this from happening again?"

Any effort to prevent flooding, he said, "It's not just going to be limited to the subways. It shouldn't be."

Want to know what's running and what's not? Check our Transit Tracker.

 

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Comments [2]

emj

I know restoring the subway is a Herculean task and a lot has been done but there are still thousands of commuters who are stranded.

For example, the B line has been suspended which is puzzling because it runs on the same set of tracks as the Q. And the Q only runs from Kings Highway in Brooklyn, all the stops after Kings Highway are out of luck. Avenue U, the stop right after Kings Highway has power but it has no service from the MTA. Yet, the F train can go all the way to Avenue X which is farther south and much closer to the water.

If there are reasons why the Q can't run as far south as the F, then the reasons should be shared so we're not left wondering if some communities are more equal than others.

Nov. 05 2012 06:33 PM
SRF

Thanks for this story, I've been wondering what was entailed. And thanks, MTA workers.

Nov. 05 2012 06:05 PM

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