MTA’s “Hurricane Plan” Calls For “Orderly Shutdown” If Frankenstorm’s Winds Top 39 MPH


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) just sent us its plan for what it will do if the storm that’s predicted to basically be the storm to end all storms hits New York City.

For now, the MTA is suspending construction on almost all subway construction projects it had planned for the weekend, with the exception of work planned for the 7 and J lines. Those projects are planned to conclude before the “Frankenstorm” is expected to hit the Big Apple on Sunday.

As is currently the plan, there will be no shutdown of services in advance of the storm, but officials say there will be if the storm’s winds top 39 mph.

The rest of the MTA’s plan for the storm is as follows:

New York City Transit

Most scheduled weekend subway service changes for construction
projects have been cancelled, with the exception of changes planned for
the 7 and J lines, which are now scheduled through Saturday only. Crews
are inspecting and clearing main drains and pump rooms throughout the
subway system. Personnel are checking and cleaning all known flood-prone
locations and these areas will continue to be monitored.

Extra workers and managers are prepared to staff New York City
Transit’s Incident Command Center, situation room, satellite desks,
depot operations and facility operations as necessary. The Incident
Command Center will be activated starting at 8 a.m. Sunday. Among those
present in the ICC throughout the duration of the storm will be Customer
Advocates, who will ensure that all decisions made during the event
will reflect a focus on customers. They fill a position created after
reviews of the agency’s performance during Tropical Storm Irene.

Trains will be removed from outdoor yards prone to flooding and moved
to more secure locations. Subway ventilation grates vulnerable to
flooding will be sandbagged and tarped over. Many station entrances and
ventilation grates in low-lying areas have been successfully modified in
recent years to raise them above street level, making it more difficult
for floodwaters to enter the system.

All portable pumps and emergency response vehicles will be checked,
fueled and made ready for service. Outside contractors have been asked
to prepare their work sites for heavy weather.

Bus operators are ready to move buses that normally park in low-lying depots to areas of higher ground.

Metro-North Railroad

Metro-North personnel are stockpiling material in preparation for
possible washouts or bank erosion, and are securing road crossing gates
when necessary.

Much of Metro-North’s territory runs along rivers and the Long Island
Sound With nearly 800 miles of tracks to take care of, Maintenance of
Way workers have already begun preparing for Sandy at known trouble

Culverts are being cleared of fallen limbs and other debris. Ditches
and swales are being cleaned out. Pumps are being tuned up and put in
place at known low spots such as New Haven Yard and Mott Haven Yard,
while generators at all rail yards are being fueled and tested.

Cranes and excavators and back hoes are being positioned along the
tracks, and a tree service contractor is on call to respond rapidly if

Long Island Rail Road

Long Island Rail Road is preparing facilities and infrastructure by
clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds,
fueling equipment, stocking supplies and making plans to move equipment
and supplies away from low-lying areas. Chain saws, generators and pumps
are ready for use as well.

The LIRR’s scheduled track work this weekend for the replacement of
concrete ties between Jamaica and Queens Village, and the resulting bus
service for Queens Village and Hollis customers, is now scheduled to end
at 11:59 PM Saturday evening.

Extra personnel will be assigned to report for duty before the storm is forecasted to make landfall on Long Island.

Crews will be prepared to remove crossing gates from LIRR crossings
in advance of the storm if necessary, to protect them from high winds
and assist in a quicker recovery. Service must be suspended if crossing
gates are removed.

Bridges and Tunnels

All roadway and drainage systems at Bridges and Tunnels facilities
are being checked and cleared of debris. Construction areas will be
secured, backup generators are in place, and wrecker trucks and other
response vehicles are readied to help motorists who may become stranded.
In addition, staffing levels were checked and emergency personnel have
been put on standby.

Motorists are advised to reduce speeds when winds are between 40 and
49 mph in dry conditions, and 30 to 49 mph in windy and wet conditions.

When the winds are 50 mph or more in dry or wet conditions, certain
vehicles will be barred from using MTA crossings. These include
motorcycles, tractor trailers, step vans, mini buses, trucks with open
backs, cars pulling trailers, motor homes and vehicles carrying plate

If there are sustained winds of 60 mph or above, the MTA may close one or more bridges to all traffic.

Capital Construction

All contractors at Capital Construction projects – East Side Access,
the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 Line Extension and Fulton Center – will
secure all materials and equipment, including cranes, to prepare for
high winds and flooding.

The MTA says it is working closely with the Governor’s office, the Mayor’s
office and state and local Offices of Emergency Management to “prepare
for the storm and respond in a coordinated manner.”

“Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no
chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our
equipment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “We are hoping
for the best but preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, we’ll be