WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Straphangers will have to hold on a little longer before work begins to restore two Upper Manhattan subway stations.
Although work on the deteriorating stations along the 168th Street and 181st Street platforms was previously scheduled to begin this spring, an authority spokeswoman said the project was delayed in order to sync work at the stations at the same time and lessen delays.
“It’s a scheduling issue,” wrote MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker in an email.
The $30 million overhaul will bring back some of the station’s early 20th century splendor, according to MTA officials, with the removal of weakened concrete, repairs to cracks, replacement of wooden rubbing board on both platforms and replacement of bricks in the arch ceiling with a lighter, more modern material.
In August 2009, bricks came raining down from the decayed archway at the 181st Street station onto a subway car as it came through the station. Nobody was injured.
Metal beams now support the station’s ceiling. Repair of that station was originally estimated to cost $17.5 million, reported the Manhattan Times in February 2010.
Last year, the MTA decided to enact a plan to restore both stations as they have the same ceiling designs.
Although many residents said they are disappointed to hear they will have to wait longer for repairs to begin, most Washington Heights straphangers said they were happy to hear the authority will spend resources to improve their station.
The project is estimated to take 29 months to complete once it begins in the fall.
“Take a look at this place, a lot of people feel ignored up here,” said Merlin Granado, 24, a native of Washington Heights. “It’s about time these stations get some work.”
Just north of both stations along the 1 train line, the MTA has been reconstructing the Dyckman Street station and renovating several stations between Inwood and West 242nd Street in the Bronx for nearly two years.
That work is expected to be complete in August.