In order to resume train operation through the 181st Street station, NYC Transit has enlisted the services of a qualified contractor who will build a protective barrier that will stretch across the track bed and platform in the area of the arched portion of the historic ceiling that suffered a partial collapse Sunday evening. The barrier will be about 300 feet long and 32 feet wide at the southern half of the station. The shielding will consist of metal decking supported on 120 12-inch deep steel beams spaced three feet apart on centers across the tracks. The beams will be supported by columns erected adjacent to the platform walls. Temporary lighting will be strung under the shielding.
Once the shielding is in place, the contractor will use it as a work platform to carefully remove any remaining loose bricks. A consultant will conduct a full investigation and design for restoration. Given the landmark status of the station, the restoration has to be done with sensitivity to preservation requirements.
Preparatory work has begun in anticipation of the arrival of the steel and other components needed to erect the shield. The contractor, under the supervision of NYC Transit's Capital Program Management Department, is moving as expeditiously as possible to complete this work in a safe manner in order to restore service.
Shielding was installed over the bridge and funding was proposed in the MTA Capital Plan amendment submitted in summer of 2008 to address the ceiling condition. A Master Plan for remediation and repair of a significant portion of the ceiling façade was completed in April, and the design process was started this past June by design consultants/Architects John di Domenico & Partners LP. Funding for the work, provided for in the 2005 - 2009 MTA Capital Program, was approved by the State Legislature this past Friday.
Design work is scheduled to be completed by December and the award of a construction contract is planned for early 2010. In addition, there are two other stations (168th Street 1 and 181st Street on the A) with a similar design, but only 168th Street features a brick ceiling. The consultant contract for the 181st Street ceiling will be expanded to include inspection of the 168th Street station as well. It should be noted that all NYC Transit tunnels and elevated structures are inspected on a yearly basis.