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MTA: R Train Tunnel Repair Shutdown To Last A Year

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TWC News: MTA: R Train Tunnel Repair Shutdown To Last A Year
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be shutting down a key East River subway tunnel for at least a year so it can repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, impacting R train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The old South Ferry came out of retirement, and the A train is rolling again in the Rockaways. But Hurricane Sandy's not done punishing the subway system yet, and this time, it's R train riders who will again feel the pain.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday detailed plans to close for 14 months the R train tube that links Brooklyn to Manhattan and whose critical equipment is corroding from the 27 million gallons of saltwater that flooded it during the storm last fall.

"I want to be clear about something. Our efforts to fully recover from Sandy are far from over," said Acting MTA Chairman Fernando Ferrer.

Hurricane Sandy inflicted severe damage on the mile-long Montague Tube, which was closed for nearly two months after the storm.

Starting August 4, permanent repair work will begin on the most heavily damaged of the MTA's nine underwater tubes, where rusting cables, pumps, signals, fans and track must be fixed.

Acting New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said the fallout from the storm has been extreme on the tube's equipment.

"Every day, it seems that we are having signal problems, again, all directly related to the impact of the storm," Bianco said.

It hasn't been easy on straphangers, either. The MTA says that in the six months leading up to Hurricane Sandy, 300 customers per month were delayed in the Montague Tube. In the six months that followed the storm, that figure has skyrocketed to 38,300 delays every month.

G train riders will be affected, too, when 12 weekend shutdowns of the Greenpoint Tube between Brooklyn and Queens start July 6.

But the biggest job is in the East River, with the repair project on the Montague Tube affecting 65,000 daily R train riders.

"Fourteen months for one of the major under-river crossings between Brooklyn and Manhattan is a lot," said Interim MTA Executive Director Thomas Prendergast. "Like I said, we've never had to do something like this in my entire career."

MTA officials pegged the preliminary cost of repairs on the tube at at least $100 million. But this time, they say the fix is for the long haul.

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