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Six Months After Sandy: Cleanup Effort Continues At South Ferry Subway Station

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TWC News: Six Months After Sandy: Cleanup Effort Continues At South Ferry Subway Station
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Every subway rider knows that when it rains, it pours, and when the rains from Hurricane Sandy drenched the city, it meant trouble for thousands of the system's riders. Six months later, many riders are still feeling the effects from the storm, particularly those who used the new South Ferry subway station, whose reopening date remains unknown. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

When the new South Ferry station opened in 2009, it was the half-billion-dollar jewel of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the first new subway station in 20 years.

"This station was the best, one of the best we had," said MTA Vice President Joseph Leader.

Now, it's an underground ghost town, sealed off to straphangers after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the station's critical equipment.

Fourteen million gallons of floodwaters surged into the station during the hurricane, soaking everything from the tracks up on to the street level. Workers quickly pumped out the station, but the damage was done.

"It was completely submerged in saltwater," Leader said. "We just knew every asset down there was completely ruined."

Hurricane Sandy swamped the station's rails, signals and switches, and took out its elevators and escalators.

Six months after the storm, the new South Ferry's return date remains uncertain, even though the 1 train returned last month to the neighboring old South Ferry station, which had been shuttered since 2009. Also still unclear is how to protect the station from future storms.

It took $527 millon to open the new South Ferry station. When it reopens in two or three years, officials estimate that the price tag will be at least $600 million.

Workers are still assessing the damage and cleaning the station, which will need a full makeover, much of it covered with federal funds.

"It's a new station inside a new station," Leader said. "It's almost hard to say that we're going to recommission the station that was only five years old, but in some cases, that's what we're going to be doing."

Commuters getting reacquainted with the old South Ferry station, where riders have to be on the first five cars to exit onto the platform, said the rebuilding project is a worthy one.

"If we can get the new one back, and they can protect it from future storms, I think it's a worthwhile investment," said one straphanger.

"We need it," said another. "It's necessary for Staten Islanders and all New Yorkers."

It's not coming back any time soon, though, instead serving as another visible reminder of Hurricane Sandy's destruction.

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