The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is trying to figure out what happened when a building partially collapsed onto another building and trapped workers.
The demolition is part of the LIRR’s Third Track Expansion Project, and contractors were using construction equipment to level a decommissioned electrical substation building on March 8 when the collapse happened. Nobody was injured, but the demolition was carried out even though four signal workers were inside a signal tower adjacent to the substation building.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is currently investigating the incident. MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said safety is the agency’s top priority and crews closed the road to traffic during the incident.
Rubble from the demolished substation building partially buried the door of the signal tower, trapping the workers, who ended up escaping through a window. Officials said the demolition contractors should have checked and secured the signal tower before taking down the substation building.
LIRR is in the midst of installing a third track for 10 miles to serve its customers better during the morning and evening rushes. The project also is eliminating at-grade crossings. Labor leaders, however, are criticizing LIRR for being more concerned about speed than safety.