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Superstorm Sandy: Fix&Fortify Efforts Continue

MTA Bridges and Tunnels continues work to repair
and strengthen vital New York City vehicular links

Work is continuing to fix and fortify MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ facilities damaged by Sandy.  The October 2012 superstorm caused major flooding at several B&T sites throughout New York City. While service was restored as quickly as possible, it was clear that permanent repairs and protective measures would require long-term efforts and financial investment.

Tens of millions of gallons of corrosive salt water surged into the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) and Queens Midtown tunnels.  Wind and water damage affected our two Rockaway crossings, the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges. The towers of the Verrazano-Narrows and Throgs Neck bridges sustained damage to navigational lighting systems and other structures due to wind forces and the storm surge.

Three years on, we are still making progress:

  • Contracts for repairs to the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels were awarded in December 2014 and April 2015, respectively.  At the Hugh L Carey Tunnel, a majority of wall tile has been removed in preparation for concrete repair and installation of new tile, and installation of temporary electrical and communications cables is underway. The contractor at the Queens Midtown Tunnel has been performing surveys of existing conditions and has started demolition work.  Permanent repairs have been completed to the navigational and security lighting system at the Marine Parkway Bridge, and to access points and tower pier fender lights at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
  • A design-build contract for restoration and mitigation of electrical and mechanical systems at the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway bridges will be awarded shortly.
  • B&T continues to conduct drills of rapid flood mitigation measures aimed at protecting against storms comparable to Sandy.  Measures include inflatable water-filled barriers at the tunnel plazas, sealing off routes through which Sandy floodwaters entered the tubes, and aluminum flood panels for doors and windows of facility buildings.
  • Preliminary designs for long-term flood mitigation (to protect to the FEMA 500-year flood elevation) at the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels have been completed; and a design-build contract for long-term measures is on the horizon.  Long-term measures will include extensions of tunnel plaza walls, installation of flood gates at the tunnel portals, and a raised seawall around the Governor’s Island Ventilation Building of the Carey Tunnel.

MTA has already received more than $90 million from FEMA under various grants for emergency measures, repairs and mitigation of tunnel and bridge facilities, including an agreement that will provide $403 million for repairs to the two vehicular tunnels and mitigation measures to prevent damage from future flood events.  Additional funds for repair and mitigation work will be provided through the MTA’s Capital Program.

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