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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 5, 2013
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In New York, Building a Sea Wall
As MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) works to restore A Line subway service to Far Rockaway, where Hurricane Sandy caused extensive flooding and track damage, the agency is also pursuing a second line of defense: construction of a seawall.

Using $38 million in federal funds, NYC Transit is installing tall strips of sheet steel along two miles of the A Line right-of-way, on the Jamaica Bay side of the flats along Broad Channel.

“We’re taking 40-foot-long strips of metal and piling them down about 33 feet below ground,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “That leaves seven feet of the wall above ground—not enough to prevent water from coming onto the right-of-way, but enough to prevent washouts of the ground under the right-of-way. The wall also will prevent any type of debris from entering right-of-way and landing on the tracks.”

The reconstruction project also includes restoration of track along the route and installation of rebuilt right-of-way. “Right now, we’re working on signals and, the most labor-intensive piece, replacing cable,” Ortiz said. “Sandy destroyed hundreds of thousands of feet of cable along the right-of-way, all the way to Rockaway Park.” NYC Transit hopes to restore full s­ervice on the A Line by the end of June.

According to Ortiz, Sandy drove water inland over the tracks from two sides—the bay and a man-made pond on the opposite side—and washed out the roadbed underneath the tracks. The major damage occurred between the at-grade Broad Channel Station and the above-ground Howard Beach Station, and four stations remain out of service.

At present, NYC Transit is supplementing local bus service along the corridor with a free bus shuttle and a special shuttle train.

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Kevin Ortiz

NYC Transit employees construct and install a sheet wall along Broad Channel that will protect A Line tracks from future storm surges and debris.

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