After an extensive 13-month rehabilitation project that involved replacing "two miles of track, 37 miles of communication cable and 14 miles of powercable," the R train resumed full service between Manhattan and Brooklyn this morning. At a press conference yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "Superstorm Sandy brought incredible destruction down on the New York City subway system - but today we’re taking another huge step forward to repair the damage and strengthen the system to withstand the next major storm."
While Hurricane Sandy dumped 27 million gallons of saltwater into the Montague tunnel, the R train was back in service in mid-December 2012. Of course, all that saltwater, which was in a 4,000-foot stretch of the tunnel for days, was corrosive and damaged tracks, signals and electrical components. Look at how gross it was in June 2013:
So in August 2013, the MTA shut down full R service (instead breaking up the R into Brooklyn-only and Manhattan-only sections) to embark on a $250 million "Fix & Fortify" project. From the governor's office:
The Montague Tube was shut down Aug. 3, 2013 to allow workers unfettered access to remove damaged equipment from the two tunnels and demolish concrete and terra cotta duct banks in both tubes that had collapsed. Construction crews had to enter the 4,000-foot section under the East River from entry points in Manhattan and Brooklyn, removing all debris and bringing in all equipment and tools through the tunnels themselves. Crews replaced 11,000 feet of track, 30,000 feet of concrete and terra cotta duct banks, 75,000 feet of power cable and 200,000 feet of communications cable.
Cuomo added, "This tunnel is safer, stronger and more resilient than ever before, and everything on this section of the R train is new—new rails, new signals, new pumps and new power supplies. We’ve made it a top priority to reimagine our state to withstand the new reality of extreme weather, and today is another example of how that approach is making this a safer state for all."
According to WCBS 2, "Officials said the project came in under budget by $30 million," and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast declared, "That was the first time ever we have done a complete replacement of a tunnel duct bank." (WCBS 2 explains, "The duct bank is where all of the wires for the signals, lights and power lines run, but officials didn’t just replace those things, they upgraded the tunnel so it can better withstand another storm.")