New WTC station opens, 17 years after 9/11 attacks

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) debuted its new World Trade Center (WTC) Cortlandt subway station Sept. 8.

The announcement marks the return of service at the subway stop in Lower Manhattan, which officials note is again a major transit and commercial hub following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The opening of WTC Cortlandt returns a subway station to a vibrant neighborhood and represents a major milestone in the recovery and growth of downtown Manhattan,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “WTC Cortlandt is more than a new subway station. It is symbolic of New Yorkers’ resolve in restoring and substantially improving the entire World Trade Center site.”

Crews built the new station with fewer columns, allowing for direct views into the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which officials said is intended to allow for more intuitive wayfinding, especially for mobility-impaired customers using wheelchairs or motorized scooters.

“We are excited to bring the 1 Subway line back to World Trade Center with the new WTC Cortlandt station,” said MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim. “Lower Manhattan is attracting families and businesses who want to put their roots down here, and we are so happy to be part of the fabric of a vibrant community that continues to inspire us all.”

The new station is fully accessible, with one elevator providing access from the street to the southbound platform, and an elevator from the mezzanine to each platform. The station is also a transfer point given its location adjacent to the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which connects to 11 subway lines and to Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) service.

“When I got to the MTA a year ago, I made it a priority to get this station back in service,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “I’m thrilled our team has been able to deliver.  As this project shows, the MTA is changing how we manage major projects, so we can give New Yorkers better mass transit facilities faster and at lower cost.”

The station includes security features such as Help Point kiosks on each platform and the two station mezzanines to allow customers to get information or call for help in case of an emergency.

The new station’s name references its location at the center of the World Trade Center and Cortlandt Street, which existed above the station location when the 1 Subway line opened in July of 1918 but was demolished during the construction of the World Trade Center during the late 1960s, officials said.

The majority of the new WTC Cortlandt station was built based on the Cortlandt St 1 Subway subway station, which was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. The station shell, tracks and tunnels experienced serious damage in the attacks, which officials explained halted 1 Subway service from its southern terminus at South Ferry for about a year after the attacks.

The construction of the new WTC Cortlandt station began in 2015 when the MTA received control of the site, which is located within the greater World Trade Center site and is overseen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The station box, within which the station shell and structure are housed, had to be underpinned or supported by piles driven into the bedrock that is more than 60 feet below, creating an underground railway elevated above the bedrock.

The station site was then built to grade, allowing the construction of a subway station 700 feet long and 47 feet wide to take place several floors below street level. A partnership of several agencies, including the MTA and PANYNJ, worked on the design of the new station.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, OFF Track Maintenance, Rapid Transit/Light Rail
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