Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
Water is now flowing in a Manhattan section of a water tunnel that's been under construction since 1970.
Mayor Bloomberg Wednesday activated an 8.5-mile stretch of the tunnel that stretches from Central Park to Grand Street. It will help relieve the burden on the century-old First Tunnel, which has been nearly impossible to maintain, because it can not be taken off-line.
Bloomberg said the nearly $3-billion investment has been crucial, even if it's largely invisible to the public.
"It's not sexy, and no one says thank you, but we should all be sleeping better because of this," he said.
Asked if he was confident future generations would make similar long-term commitments to ambitious infrastructure projects, Bloomberg said, "Everybody bitches about it, but the truth is it's the kind of investment we have to make, and I assume the next administration, whoever it is, is going to be led by a mayor who's going to stand up and say, 'No, we're not gonna walk away from — we have to do this.'"
Work on another 11 miles of water tunnel into Queens and Brooklyn is expected to last through 2021. As with the stretch opened this week, the tunnel running through the city's bedrock in the outer boroughs has been complete for years, but the vertical shafts and water-main connections still await completion.