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F train tunnel will get $50M Sandy rehab in 2021

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The repairs will shutter two stations on nights and weekends

The F train pulls into the Smith-9th Streets station. Max Touhey

The last of the city’s subway tubes damaged by Hurricane Sandy more than seven years ago is set to undergo repairs, THE CITY first reported. The F train’s Rutgers Tube, which connects the line’s East Broadway and York Street stations under the East River, will close for repairs on nights and weekends come early 2021, an MTA official told Curbed.

The MTA’s Construction & Development department issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the project last week, with bids due by April 9. The RFP calls for upgrades that will make the tunnel more resilient to extreme weather events. It will also see the design and installation of new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, track, and signal systems at a projected cost between $50 million and $100 million—a price tag being paid for entirely by federal dollars. That also includes the installation of communications systems that will bring cellular and Wi-Fi service to the tube.

“This project has benefitted from the new way we’re doing business at Construction & Development,” Tim Mulligan, deputy chief development officer of MTA Construction & Development, told THE CITY. “By looking closely at the context of all work that needs to get done, we were able to move on a more aggressive schedule.”

The work on the tube that will directly impact riders is expected to take about 20 weeks, with disruptions along the line limited to nights and weekends. The East Broadway and York Street stations will be closed for repairs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. most nights and weekends during the 20 week period, according to the MTA official.

Riders will still be able to traverse between Brooklyn and Manhattan during those hours as the F train will be rerouted via the A/C, and make stops along the line before rejoining the F track at West 4th Street. In lieu of F train service at East Broadway and York Street, added bus and train service will be dispatched to reach the areas close to the shuttered stops.

The Rutgers Tube is the last of the tunnels damaged by Hurricane Sandy to undergo repair work. In 2017, Sandy-related work shuttered the Clark Street Tube that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn along the 2 and 3 lines on weekends. Service on the line was fully restored in June 2018.

Repairs to the L train’s Sandy-ravaged Canarsie Tunnel began in April 2019 and is expected to wrap up ahead of schedule in April of this year. The L train has been running with drastically reduced service, in 20-minute intervals, on nights and weekends in order to give crews time to work on the tracks.