Two subway stations in Manhattan will close for one year each starting next month, although not at the same time, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Tuesday. The long-term closures are the result of major elevator replacement projects planned for five stations, including 168th, both 181st, 191st, and 190th Street 1/A stations in Washington Heights. According to the MTA, three of the stations are more than a century old, with most of the elevator components close to 100 years old.
“Replacing these elevators is long overdue and critical for reliable access to these unique ‘deep stations,’ and we’ve put together a schedule that takes care not to cause unnecessary inconvenience for customers,” NYC Transit President Andy Byford said in a press release.
The five stations are among the deepest (furthest below ground level) in the entire system, with 190th and 191st Streets at 140 feet and 180 feet below ground, respectively.
In 1950, the stations were being considered for use as bomb shelters, as the New York Times reported. And a year later in 1951, researchers found the station at 190th Street safe enough to shelter from fallout following a nuclear attack. These five stations also have the only full-time elevator attendants left in the system, providing reassurance as the elevator descends deep into the ground.
The deepness of these stations is the root cause of the issues they face now, including water intrusion and decay. And because the stations are located so far below the surface, full repair will take 11 to 12 months each, the MTA said. The $61 million replacement of the elevators at 1-line stations at 168st, 191st, and 181st street is being handled by Skanska USA.
When construction is complete, doors will open at the front and rear of each of the four elevators and at the rear passageway behind the elevators at the lower level. Other upgrades include improvements to the emergency stairs, better lighting and concrete, and new handrails.
The MTA said it will increase M5 bus service in the area, with free MetroCard transfers offered on the M3, M4, and M5 buses between 157th and 168th Streets. They encourage commuters to use the A/C at 168th Street, which will be partially open during construction and transfer at Columbus Circle station and Inwood.
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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story referenced an incorrect MTA press release that all five of the stations would remain closed for a year.
Tags : MTA