New York City Transit President Andy Byford promised Friday that the MTA would inspect "every inch of elevated tracks" in the city, one day after a large wood beam fell from the 7 train tracks in Woodside and crashed through the windshield of a vehicle passing underneath.
Crews are expected to finish examining the 7 line by Saturday morning, and then move on to other elevated tracks in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn.
"We have a full investigation underway," Byford said.
The beam pierced the windshield of an SUV that was traveling near Roosevelt Avenue and 65th Street around 12:29 p.m. Thursday, according to the FDNY.
No one was hurt, the fire department said, although photos tweeted by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer showed that the beam struck just inches away from the driver’s seat.
"This is horrifying. Thankfully the driver was not injured, but someone could have been killed!" he said in a statement.
Byford said the driver left – and took the wood with him – before the MTA could respond to the scene. He urged the driver to reach out to the MTA so the authority can provide "any assistance he needs."
Although he was relieved that no one was injured, Byford said the incident "should not have happened" at all.
An MTA spokesman said on Thursday that the wood appeared to have originated from a supply platform that was installed under the track and the authority has now dismantled and removed the platform. Byford said it’s possible the beam had been there for decades.
"We’re looking into pretty much any department that may have been involved with that work. The obvious departments will be the Department of Subways but potentially the program management team as well," Byford said.
While the MTA inspects elevated tracks annually, the authority’s chief safety officer Patrick Warren said it wasn’t clear exactly when the stretch of track where the beam fell from was last looked at.
The investigation could lead to a systemwide change in the MTA’s inspection methodology, Byford added.
With Li Yakira Cohen