Steel wall to protect NYC subway from storm surges

MTA officials hope a 7-foot wall in the middle of Jamaica Bay will protect the A train from storm surges and debris for the next century.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

The A train is the only subway that goes out to the Rockaways in Queens. When Sandy hit, the storm surge ripped the embankment out from under 400 feet of track. WNYC reports.

For weeks afterwards, each tide took out larger chunks until the Metropolitan Transportation Authority dumped tons of stone and concrete next to the tracks; but that part is still out of service. Rockaways residents commuting to Manhattan use MTA-provided buses, with some rush hour commutes ending after midnight.

A new wall (pictured) will protect the most vulnerable two-mile stretch of the A line.

It’s made of "marine steel" designed to resist saltwater corrosion for a century. Each 40-foot section is pounded 33 feet into the ground along the eastern side of the tracks on the island of Broad Channel, in the middle of Jamaica Bay. They’ll rise seven feet above the tracks to protect it from surges and debris -- that’s just two feet taller than Sandy.

The $38 million project is the MTA's first big step since Sandy to prevent flooding from future storm surges. The wall will go up by May 1.

Meanwhile, the A train’s damaged electronics aren't getting the same forward-looking makeover. Those copper wires will get back online in any way to meet the MTA's goal of returning the A train’s full service by this summer. Ideally, the control house will be lifted 10 feet in the air and the system will be computerized… but that’s millions of dollars and years away.

Initiatives to bring the community back to life include PS1’s VW Dome 2. Earlier this year, PS1 and MoMA put out a “Rockaway Call for Ideas” for smart development solutions. The top 25 submissions will be on view at the Dome this month.

[WNYC via Transportation Nation, PopSci]

Images: MTA/Kevin Ortiz via Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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