The MTA is slated to wrap up its roughly yearlong reconstruction of the 2 and 3 lines’ Clark Street tunnel next week, with weekend and weeknight service to be restored between Manhattan and Brooklyn by June 25.
The project involved a variety of electrical, mechanical and structural reconstruction in order to replace and protect equipment that was badly damaged during superstorm Sandy in 2012. More than half a million gallons of corrosive salt water flooded the 1.2-mile-long tunnel during the Oct. 29 storm, shutting down subway service for five days.
“They [riders] are getting a better system,” Sharda Persaud, MTA Transit’s resident engineer for the project, said during a tour of the work Saturday. “And if we do have another Sandy, it shouldn’t affect service as much.”
Since the project started in June 2017, miles of fiber-optic cable and hundreds of feet of concrete have been replaced. Much of the work focused on waterproofing critical equipment needed to run trains underground and moving that equipment to higher locations within the tunnel in order to keep it out of reach of floodwaters.
Crews labored under tight time constraints, since the work was mainly done on the weekends, Persaud said.
“For me, I thought the biggest part was the track work because we needed to chop 300 linear feet of concrete, remove it, bring in new track — everything — and have the train back up and running within 53 hours,” Persaud said.
The MTA also rehabilitated the tunnel’s four pump rooms, which are tasked with removing water that seeps onto the tracks on a daily basis, and installed a new emergency pump that will activate when water in the tunnel reaches a certain level, Persaud said.
The Clark Street tube was the seventh of nine subway tunnels to receive major rehabilitation after they were badly flooded.
With the Clark Street reconstruction winding down, there are now two major Sandy-related tunnel projects on tap at the MTA.
After 55 consecutive weekend disruptions on the 2 and 3 lines, the transportation authority will shift to rehabilitating the F line’s tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. That work will also take place on weekends, though the MTA has not yet set a timeline for the reconstruction.
Also looming is the L train shutdown, which will suspend service between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 months beginning next April in order to allow the MTA to perform critical Sandy repairs along the line.
In the last days of work at the Clark Street tunnel, Persaud said, there are mostly “punch-list items” left to complete, none of which will impact service.
“Everything on-track will be completed,” she said.