99% Invisible

158- Sandhogs

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eighty years ago, New York City needed another tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus began construction of the Lincoln Tunnel.


Transportation Nation

NJ Transit Rail Commuters Face Challenges Above and Below Ground

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Commuters are starting to worry about a future of tunnel closures. But a precarious, 104-year-old rail bridge could also cause problems.
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Transportation Nation

MTA Chief: More Sandy-Related Subway Tunnel Closures Are Coming

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


UPDATE Subway riders should expect significant shut-downs of lines that use tubes to move in and out of Manhattan--but not as bad as the current 14-month closure of the R train tunnel under New York harbor. That's the warning from MTA chairman Tom Prendergast.

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Transportation Nation

VIDEO: Drying Out the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One tube of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (now known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) is now open to traffic, and New York's MTA has released a video of the recovery process.

Hurricane Sandy flooded the tunnel with millions of gallons of sea water "from floor to ceiling," according to New York Governor Cuomo. (Exactly how much water isn't clear. Earlier reports said the tunnel had taken on 43 million gallons; in the above video, the tunnel's manager, Marc Mende, says the tunnel was flooded with 80 million gallons. Whatever the amount, you can see footage of water in the tunnel at about 38 seconds in -- and it's daunting.)

That was a new experience for the MTA's tunnel employees. "We've never had a leak," said Mende. "We never had a puddle. The only water we ever had in this tunnel came off of vehicles."

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel remained completely closed to traffic for over two weeks while workers pumped out the water and repaired electrical, lighting, communications, surveillance, and ventilation systems. Cuomo says it will another "few weeks" before the second tube is open.

Here's the scene, after Sandy:

Mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, after Sandy (MTA photo)


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Transportation Nation

VIDEO: How To Drain and Repair a Flooded Subway Tunnel

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hurricane Sandy flooded all eight under-river subway tunnels in New York (nine if you count the G train, which runs under the Newtown Creek). The last one to have been pumped dry is the L train's 14th Street tunnel, which runs under the East River between Manhattan and Queens and cuts through the population-accreting neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The MTA has said restoring L service is its highest priority. On Wednesday, it released a video of workers repairing tracks and signals. Watch it below.

Earlier this week, MTA chairman Joe Lhota described for WNYC the process of restoring service on flooded lines. Workers, he said, are “cleaning [signals] by hand, literally. 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.”

You can listen to that interview here.

The L train tunnel on the afternoon of Monday, November 5. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We’ll be updating this throughout the day. Send your photos to or @transportnation.  ‘Cause we’d like to share them.

1:3opm: broken traffic light at King Street and Varick Street in lower Manhattan (photo by Kate Hinds)

10:27: from Jim O'Grady: "World Trade Center. Cop said PATH station flooded, didn't know how badly. My guess: badly."

10:11am: A beheaded subway entrance. (photo by Jim O'Grady)

10:11am: Staten Island Railway's Clifton Shop in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by MTA via flickr)

9:55am: flooding at the entrance to the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel, via @NYGovCuomo

9:49am: Downed tree in Tribeca park (photo by Jim O'Grady)

8:14am: Rainbows over Brooklyn (photo by Andrea Bernstein)

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Transportation Nation

As Planners Decide to Put Station Underground, Intense Political Machinations Over Dulles Airport Train Station

Thursday, April 07, 2011

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) The construction of a subway line out to Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia is one of the largest public works projects in the country, with a price tag of around $6 billion.

With that kind of dough, politics is bound to seep into the process one way or another. And it definitely has, especially after a decision yesterday that puts local politicians here in a no-win situation.

Yesterday, the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing the project, chose to locate the planned Metro station at Dulles underground, rather than above ground.

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The Board made this decision against the advice of almost every elected official in the region - local, state and federal. That's because the underground option is more than $300 million more expensive than an above ground alternative.

Airports Board members said they chose the more expensive option because

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Transportation Nation

Christie Kills ARC Tunnel

Thursday, October 07, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Governor Christie has formally put the nail in the coffin on the ARC tunnel.  He issued a press release today that said:

"The ARC project costs far more than New Jersey taxpayers can afford and the only prudent move is to end this project."

He continues:  “There is no doubt that transportation projects are critical to creating jobs and growing our economy.  I have asked Commissioner Simpson and (NJ Transit) Executive Director Weinstein to work with all interested parties - Amtrak, the Federal Transit Administration, the Port Authority, the State and City of New York and our Congressional delegation - to explore approaches to modernize and expand capacity for the Northeast Corridor.  However, any future project must recognize the regional and national scale of such an effort and work within the scope of the State’s current fiscal and economic realities."

He adds: "The ARC project will be terminated and staff will immediately begin an expeditious and orderly shutdown of the project."

This decision comes after the governor halted work on the tunnel last month to assess its cost.

More as we learn it.

Below is the memo from the ARC Project Executive Committee to Governor Christie recommending the project's termination.

Christie ARC Memo

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