Photo By Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit
Just Short of a Rebuild: Transit personnel inspect Montague tube damage that is so severe the tube requires a major overhaul.

New York City Transit plans to start major reconstruction work this summer on two subway tunnels that were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The agency is preparing bid documents for the work, which is expected to be divided into two projects, each with multiple contracts that will total more than $100 million, NYC Transit notes.

Both tunnels—the 5,000-ft-long Montague and the 1,200-ft-long Greenpoint tubes—had ceiling-high floodwaters that compromised tracks and switches, signals and controls, and power and communications cables, says Joseph Leader, NYC Transit acting senior vice president, Dept. of Subways.

The Montague tube, traversing the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the Greenpoint tube, which runs under Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, suffered the worst damage, Leader says. The Montague tube also sat in corrosive saltwater for 10 days and is in far worse condition than the Greenpoint tube, so it requires work that is "just short of completely rebuilding the tunnel," he adds.

The Montague project requires the shutdown of R-train service, which will start the first week of August and is expected to be completed in 14 months. Unlike the Greenpoint project, the Montague project will use outside contractors for most of the work, Leader says.

"What we see as the real Achilles' heel [of the Montague project is] the duct banks," which are so severely damaged that they need to be "completely chipped and rebuilt," Leader says.

Jackhammering is typical in under-river tubes, since heavy equipment could puncture the tube's lining, Leader says. However, the process, coupled with the loading and removal of tons of debris, will be a time-consuming process, he adds.