Brooklyn Heights

Cuomo to announce early completion of R train tunnel repairs

R service between Brooklyn and Manhattan expected to return Monday

September 14, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Cuomo is set to announce the reopening of the Montague R train tunnel on Sunday
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to hold a press conference on Sunday announcing the early reopening of the R train’s Montague Tunnel, closed for more than a year after sustaining heavy damage during Superstorm Sandy.

The governor’s office scheduled the conference for 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Manhattan at the Whitehall Street Subway Station.

R line service connecting Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan  is expected to return in time for rush hour Monday morning, though the MTA had not made an official announcement by early Sunday.  


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UPDATE: Repairs are completed! The R line resumes service Monday, Sept. 15


As they loaded their ladders into vans late Saturday, workers at the Montague Street tunnel told the Brooklyn Eagle that they had completed their repairs, and that the governor would be riding from Whitehall Street to Montague Street on Sunday.

The New York Post first reported the Monday return of the R train. The MTA’s online trip planner confirms that the line will be available Monday morning.

The section of the R line which runs under the East River was closed August 3, 2013. Repairs were scheduled to take 14 months.

Like building a new under-river tunnel

When the project was originally announced, MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast described the work as “the closest thing to building a new under-river tube as there is.”  

More than 4,000 feet of the tube had been filled with salt water for nearly a week after the storm, according to the MTA.  Removal of the water was delayed because of the lack of electricity to the pumps located in lower Manhattan, and components within the tube continued to deteriorate over time.

The project required MTA engineers to come up with innovative approaches, John O’Grady, Infrastructure Program Coordinator who headed up NYC Transit’s Sandy relief efforts, said in a statement.

The job involved the demolition of four rotted terracotta and concrete duct banks, as well as the removal of thousands of feet of cable and the tunnel’s lighting system. To combat the dust created by duct bank demolition, multiple levels of protection were developed including the use of misting and waterfall systems.

More than 18 million pounds of debris were removed on work trains, including 500,000 feet of cable.

It proved impossible to use the motorized equipment normally employed during demolition as the cast iron liner and limited space did not permit it, MTA said.

Construction Manager Piyush Patel said in a statement that there were upwards of 80 workers in the tubes at any one time. 

The tube’s original construction was in October 1914 and the first revenue train rolled through in August 1920. At that time, the ride cost a nickel, MTA said.

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