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MTA/Photo by Marc A. Hermann
MTA/Photo by Marc A. Hermann
Extensive damage caused by Superstorm Sandy is the reason that MTA officials say they have to close the tunnels used by the R and G trains for extended repairs.

BY DENISE ROMANO AND MELISA STUMPF

Riders of the R and G line are in for a stressful summer, with major construction slated for the Montague and Greenpoint tubes that were badly damaged during Sandy.

Beginning on July 6, the Greenpoint tube, which runs under Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, will be closed for 12, 53-hour-long weekends. The closures are slated to start at midnight on Fridays during the following days: July 6-7, 13-14, 20-21; August 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25; September 7-8, 28-29; October 5-6; December 7-8, and 14-15.  There will also be a five-week 24/7 closure of the tube in summer, 2014.

The three northernmost stops: Greenpoint Avenue, 21st Street and Court Square will be closed. G trains will run between Church Avenue and Nassau Avenue, and a shuttle bus will be provided to link the closed stops.

As for the Montague Tube, which runs beneath the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, it will be closed for up to 14 months starting the first week in August. On weekdays, the R will run in two sections: between Court Street and 95th Street in Brooklyn and from Forest Hills-71st Street in Queens to Whitehall Street in Manhattan.

On weekends, the R train will be re-routed over the Manhattan Bridge, skipping Jay, Court, Whitehall and Rector Streets and City Hall. Overnights, the N will also run over the bridge.

The extensive repairs are due to the million gallons of salt water that flooded the tunnels during Sandy. The water corroded, degraded or ruined “almost everything” including tracks, switches, signals, controls, and power and communication cables. The tubes were temporarily fixed, but not permanently repaired.

In the Greenpoint Tube, power cables were immersed in salt water and are now corroding from the inside. The controls for the ventilation, lighting and communication systems were also destroyed and were never restored to pre-Sandy conditions.

An MTA spokesperson said that the Montague Tune is in “far worse” condition. The concrete and terracotta duct banks under the walkways along the sides of the tunnel, built in 1920, were compromised, leaving cables unprotected. The duct banks must be removed and rebuilt, so they can be available as emergency exits.

 

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