Subway service has been restored in Times Square after an overnight water main break caused major disruptions and street closures. Officials are now focused on long-term infrastructure repairs. Dramatic images from MTA photographer Marc A Hermann showed the operation to bring trains back.
It was an event that brought New York City’s bustling Times Square to an unexpected halt. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have since been working tirelessly to mitigate the immediate and future impact of the flooding.
Subway service has been restored, offering some relief to the city that never sleeps. “The main impact, of course, has been on the subways, because the water main is above the subway station here. So for that hour and a half or so, when the water was running, the water was running into the subway system,” said DEP Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala.
7th Avenue remains closed between W42nd and W39th streets, as well as W40th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. “While this intersection will probably remain closed for the rest of the day while we continue the excavation and complete the repair, it is limited to this one intersection at this point,” Aggarwala further elaborated.
Addressing the complexities of the repair work, he commented, “Our crews are now excavating. We’ve narrowed and we’ve identified we believe where the break in the pipe is, and they are excavating so they can begin the repairs. As you would imagine here in Times Square, it’s spaghetti under there. There’s Con Ed steam, there’s electricity, there’s gas, there’s telecom under there.”
Rich Davey, President of NYC Transit, added perspective on the subway system’s recovery. “Should be no issues in the evening commute tonight. We have some residual delays now as trains get back into position, but by rush hour tonight there should be no issues,” he said.
The incident has reignited conversations about New York City’s aging infrastructure. The DEP commissioner revealed that the 20-inch pipe that broke was built in 1896, underscoring the pressing need for investment in the city’s aged utility systems.
As for businesses affected by the incident, many reportedly have redundant water supplies and only a couple have reported having no water.
Rich Davey, President of NYC Transit speaking at a press conference, praised the MTA teams. “I think it took about 90 minutes for that water to be shut off and in any instance, a minute matters. We pumped out around 800,000 gallons of water. It was a great effort by our team. In fact, I saw folks actually lugging that pump down into the station because it doesn’t have elevators.”