Subway havoc as water main breaks on Upper West Side
Crews worked frantically Monday to pump water from deluged subway tracks around 110th Street and Central Park West, following a major water-main break that snarled service on four lines through the evening rush and left a potentially messy commute for Tuesday.
The B and C lines were suspended entirely, while A train service was disrupted from 145th Street to 59th Street-Columbus Circle. The D line was suspended from 161st Street-Yankee Stadium to 34th Street-Herald Square.
An MTA spokesman said the agency was continuing to assess the situation, and it was unclear whether the lines would be restored before the morning rush hour.
Some roads above ground at Central Park West resembled a rushing river, but no injuries were reported, city officials said.
Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection, which maintains the 6,600 miles of water main, said crews had not yet determined what caused the burst just after 11 a.m.
“Typically you see water mains break in the winter,” Sklerov said. “We expect to get to the break today, but it’s unclear how long it will take to replace it (pipe).”
The city rarely has multiple subway lines crippled at the same time – heavy rains shut down much of the system in August 2007 and September 2004.
Water-main breaks, however, aren’t so unusual: There were 481 citywide in fiscal year 2011, up from 421 in fiscal year 2010, according to the DEP.
Some of the pipes have been around since the horse-and-buggy days of the 1870s.
Rae Zimmerman, a professor of planning and public administration at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, said New York remains an aging city, and officials must determine whether it’s cost-effective to replace old infrastructure before it breaks.
“It’s not acceptable, but it’s kind of what happens,” she added.
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Major water main bursts in 2011
Aug. 12: Water and gas main breaks in a five-block area around 152nd Street in Harlem caused delays on the A, B, C and D lines. A foot of water was dumped on some lines.
July 27: The No. 4 train was hampered after a cast iron water main broke at Jerome Avenue near 177th Street in the Bronx. The massive flooding displaced three families.
Jan. 24: A busted pipe in the East Village sent water gushing on East 2nd Street and left cars encased in thick ice.