Massive water main break floods Upper West Side streets

Juliet Papa
January 13, 2020 - 10:05 am
Water main break Upper West Side

Juliet Papa/1010 WINS

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Commuters, rejoice: Subway service on 1,2 and 3 lines resumed Monday afternoon -- albeit with delays -- after a water main break on the Upper West Side.

The massive water main break flooded streets on the Upper West Side Monday morning and had major impacts on subway service during the morning rush. Officials say it will take days to repair the main, but they hope to have subway service back to normal by Monday evening.

The break broke out around 5 a.m. and is affecting the area between West 61st and West 65th streets at Broadway and Columbus Avenue, near Lincoln Center. Floodwaters were seen rushing into streets amid a heavy police and fire presence for several hours around daybreak.

People on their way to work navigated around the floodwaters, some of them putting trash bags over their feet and legs to keep dry.

The break was capped shortly before 8 a.m., but the flooding continued to impact the area for blocks around. The MTA said the Department of Environmental Protection stopped water flowing into the subway around that time and that maintanence teams were removing water from the tracks.

DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said water entered basements of surrounding buildings and the 1, 2 and 3 subway line. He said there are multiple water mains feeding the area, but if residents see discolored water they should run the water until it's clear. He said there may also be temporary water outages in the area as crews work to make repairs.

Joseph Ferrante, of the FDNY, said three buildings and the subway were affected by significant flooding and that pumps were set up to get the water out.

The flooding had a major impact on subway service shortly after flooding began. The 1 and 2 lines were suspended from Times Square to 96th Street and the 3 train was suspended entirely.

Trains on the 1 and 2 line were moving in sections between lower Manhattan and midtown, as well as between midtown and upper Manhattan. 

Video posted to Twitter Monday morning appears to show flooded tracks, apparently on the 1, 2 or 3 line.

Frank Jezycki, the chief operating officer of the subway system, said the water from the break entered the subway tunnel through an emergency exit hatchway, as well as manholes and cable ductwork. 

"The water got to a level where it reached the third rail, where it becomes dangerous to operate trains. So just short of 6 a.m. we shut the power off to all three tracks," Jezycki said, adding that all the water had since been pumped out of the tracks.

Jezycki said the conditions of the track are being assessed and that the MTA hopes to have service back to normal by the evening rush hour.

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