Press Release Article


PATH’S WORLD TRADE CENTER AND EXCHANGE PLACE STATIONS WILL REOPEN ON WEEKENDS STARTING DECEMBER 20 AND 21, AS INITIAL PHASE OF TUNNEL WORK ENDS FOR POST-SANDY REMEDIATION AND POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL INITIATIVE

Date: Dec 09, 2014
Press Release Number: 246-2014

Major progress made throughout 2014, with additional work slated on both the Journal Square/Hoboken to 33rd Street and Newark-to-WTC lines in the second half of 2015

PATH weekend service on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line will resume with the reopening of the World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations starting the weekend of December 20-21, following nearly a year’s worth of intensive clean-up and upgraded signal work in two tunnels below the Hudson River.

Since February, approximately 280,000 square feet of metal tunnel surfaces and equipment were power washed of salt residue left by Superstorm Sandy floodwaters and corroded metal replaced – the entire area along the line impacted by salt. Additionally, significant progress occurred toward installing new computerized signals for increased operational safety with the placement of thousands of feet of new cables.

“We sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding during these weekend service outages and are happy to have the service back for the holidays,’’ said PATH Director and General Manager Stephen Kingsberry. “These repairs and upgrades, while tremendously inconvenient for our riders, are absolutely vital to ensuring a state-of-good repair, undoing the corrosive damage from Sandy and making critical safety upgrades to the PATH system.”

Kingsberry also praised the dedication and sacrifice of PATH employees and consultants, who put in long hours since last winter helping to rebuild the rail system that serves both New Jersey and New York.

Billybey Ferry Company LLC, which operated an alternate ferry service during the World Trade Center-to-Newark line outages, will continue the weekend service after the stations reopen and assess ridership later in 2015 to determine if the service is sustainable. BillyBey’s current ferry fare of $2.50 was subsidized by PATH and expected Federal Transit Administration Sandy recovery grants, and the company will set a new fare. Billybey operates under the NY Waterway banner and further information on schedules and pricing is available via the website, www.nywaterway.com.

Sandy’s floodwaters left behind an insidious salt residue that rusts metal cables, equipment and the shell of the tunnel itself. The corrosive salt required a painstaking, labor-intensive cleaning process, beyond what occurred in the initial aftermath of the storm to return train service as quickly as possible.

The Port Authority – like other mass-transit systems around the nation – also is working to meet a federal mandate to install a Positive Train Control (PTC) system to help reduce human or mechanical errors and provide added safety on the rails. PTC is an enhanced signal technology that automatically applies a train’s brakes if an accident appears likely, potentially saving injuries and lives.

Floodwaters in Sandy’s aftermath destroyed much of the substantial prior work PATH had completed on the PTC system, requiring replacement of those components and significantly setting back the agency’s schedule and budget. The Federal Transit Administration helped the Port Authority recoup those financial losses.

The PTC improvements are part of an overall $580 million, comprehensive signals modernization program that ultimately will improve service for PATH riders by allowing trains to run more frequently while maintaining or improving safety.

The 2014 weekend closures allowed PATH to continue with the installation of cable, fiber, compressed air lines and conduit material for signal and communications equipment, which will help meet the PTC requirements. The work also included installation of communication antennas and signal junction boxes.

Since Sandy, infrastructure improvements have been vast, with a myriad of utilities in the tunnel replaced, including power and communications equipment, rail, third rail and track. Nearly two miles of corroded rail fasteners were replaced to better secure the track bed.

Nevertheless, work remains and is expected to be done during additional outages on weekends in the second half of 2015 on both the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line, along with completion of remaining work on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line. Following a cable fire earlier this year that created outages, the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line work will assess the condition of stonework that comprises electrical cable ducts alongside the tracks. Dates and details of these outages will be provided to the public once planning work in finalized.

One line will remain operational at all times on the weekends and alternative service options are under consideration to reduce the inconvenience to riders.


CONTACT:
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777


Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.


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