MANHATTAN — Commuters can once again ride the R train between Brooklyn and Manhattan more than a year after the train's East River tube was shut down to repair widespread water damage from Hurricane Sandy.
The link was finally restored at 6 a.m. Monday after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority completed a $250 million project to fix and upgrade the Montague Tunnel's infrastructure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
"This tunnel is safer, stronger and more resilient than ever before, and everything on this section of the R train is new — new rails, new signals, new pumps and new power supplies," the governor said as he toured the repaired tunnel Sunday.
After the tube was shuttered on Aug. 3, 2013, crews replaced 11,000 feet of track and 275,000 feet of cable and installed more powerful pumps, emergency lights and an electrical room sealed behind a waterproof "submarine-quality door," officials said.
MTA officials estimated that Sandy flooded the tube with about 27 million gallons of water, which corroded all the equipment inside including electrical gear and the steel rails.
While the work occurred over the past year, the R ran in two sections, stopping at Whitehall Street in Manhattan and Court Street in Brooklyn.
"It took more than a year of round-the-clock reconstruction in difficult conditions, but we have restored the R train with a smoother and more reliable ride in a tunnel built to handle future climate risks," said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast.
"The effort required to rebuild the Montague Tube was nothing short of heroic," Prendergast added.