Bay Ridge

Montague Street Tunnel reopens Monday

September 10, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This sign at the 86th Street subway station may soon be outdated. The R train could be running all the way into Manhattan sooner than expected, thanks to quicker than anticipated repairs to the Montague Street Tunnel.

Repair project finishes ahead of schedule

R train riders who have to switch trains to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan because of the closure of the Montague Street Tunnel are getting full service back sooner than expected.

The crucial tunnel that carries the R train between Brooklyn and Manhattan is set finally set to reopen on Monday, weeks ahead of schedule, after Hurricane Sandy-related repairs, a Bay Ridge official said. 

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-parts of Bensonhurst) said he has confirmed with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that R train service through the Montague Tunnel will resume on the morning of Sept. 15.

The tunnel has been closed since August of 2013.

“I commend the hardworking residents of south Brooklyn who travel to Manhattan each day via public transportation for their patience throughout this ordeal,” Gentile said. “I thank the MTA for getting the job done. Opening two weeks early on such a massive project deserves praise.”

The tunnel reopening is good news for the tens of thousands of R train riders who have had to find alternate routes into Manhattan.

Because of the tunnel closure, R trains did not run to Manhattan on weekdays. Instead, the R line terminated at Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The subway service disruption affected R train riders in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Downtown Brooklyn.

On weekends, the R train traveled into Manhattan via the N line. The trains traveled on the Manhattan Bridge.

The tunnel sustained devastating damage when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in October of 2012.

“The flooding of the tunnel during Superstorm Sandy caused serious damage to the tunnel,” Doris Cruz, chairman of Community Board 10’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said following a briefing given by MTA officials to the board earlier this year. MTA officials tried to keep the tunnel open. “But they knew that a larger project was needed,” Cruz said.

Since the closure, repair crews have been working in the tunnel almost non-stop to bring the tunnel back to full operational use.

Workers removed all of the wiring, lighting, signals and concrete in the tunnel, MTA officials told Community Board 10. The tunnel was stripped bare, right down to its cast iron ring, installed 100 years ago, and then rebuilt.

The cost of the entire project is expected to hit $308 million.