The 108-year-old New York subway system is partially drowning after Sandy forced large amounts of water into the system, inundating its tunnels, rail yards and bus depots.
Hurricane Sandy, which was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, swept through New York city Monday night, leaving devastation in its wake. The MTA began suspending transportation service at 7 p.m. on Sunday enacting the “Hurricane Plan” it designed in anticipation of last year’s Irene.
In a statement released Sunday, MTA said, “The plan allows customers to move to safety prior to the storm’s arrival, then protect employees and equipment before dangerous sustained winds of more than 39 mph reach the area.”
However, the MTA could not have possibly predicted the amount of damage Sandy would cause.
“Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region,” said MTA chairman Joseph Lhota in a statement released early Tuesday morning. “We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery.”
Seven tunnels under the East River have taken on water and are now facing saltwater damage to the electrical components of the system. MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker told Reuters that restoring the system will be a gradual process.
In a press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg emphasized the importance of getting the subway system up and running. He said that it could take anywhere from two to five days to restore service.
“Getting the mass transit system up and running and restoring power” are the city’s biggest challenges going forward, said Bloomberg. He also expressed his confidence in the abilities of the employees of the MTA and Con Edison in restoring service and gave them the full backing of the city.
“Our administration will move heaven and earth to help them,” said Bloomberg.
The MTA has not released when the system will begin operation, but bus service is expected to resume sometime Tuesday. Stay up to date on NYC transportation status here.