WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Uptown 1 train riders can soon look forward to a prettier and safer commute when the MTA completes its plan to revamp two Washington Heights subway stations next spring.
Straphangers who have long complained about the crumbling walls and deteriorating stations along the 168th Street and 181st Street platforms will see stations restored to their original early 20th century splendor when its $30 million overhaul of the stations is completed, according to MTA officials.
“These stations are beautiful works of art and part of New York City’s history,” said Thomas Vueller, 55, of Washington Heights. “It’s about time the city took its care seriously.”
The plan, which is still in its design phase, includes removing bricks in the arch ceiling and replacing them with a lighter material, removing weakened concrete, repairing cracks and replacing the wooden rubbing board on both platforms, according to MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker.
Although the renovation was originally limited to the 181st Street station when the plan was announced in February, the 168th Street platform was since added to the plan "as it has the same ceiling design as 181st Street where we have had problems," according to Parker.
It has been more than two years since bricks from the archway at 181st Street rained down on a passing train during the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2009. Metal beams now support that station’s ceiling.
Construction on both stations is expected to begin during the spring of 2012.
The $45 million 1 train reconstruction of the Dyckman Street station and renovation of its northern stations is still underway and is slated to finish in August 2012. When that construction is complete, the MTA will begin its work making the Dyckman Street station wheelchair accessible.