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Deteriorating Hudson River Tunnels | 360° Video | NBC 4 I-Team

Jun 10, 2021
Are we already seeing chunks of concrete on the runway deck? Are we already seeing that kind of deterioration? Certainly, I mean, we've already experienced problems with high voltage cables running through bank walls. We have had concrete that has fallen. towards the tracks that we need to then get in and out of, we have water intrusion issues, we need to send a good patrol through the tunnel and all this stuff again, we can only see just two tracks here, so whatever we need to do in the tunnel here we are entering the tunnel now anything we need to do maintenance wise it immediately creates a delay and disruption for all these passengers here is the North River Tunnel built 108 years old by the Pennsylvania Railroad .
deteriorating hudson river tunnels 360 video nbc 4 i team
Opened in 1910, this is the same thing, this is what it looked like then and this is what it looks like now, with much more deterioration. One thing. I want a couple of things. I want to point out number one. You see the walls of the banks on both sides. These are the ventilation walls that we keep talking about the flood water that the salty, sandy water came in here, flooded these bank walls and threw these bank walls past the high voltage cables that power not only the trains that pass through here but the entire New York terminal complex and us.
deteriorating hudson river tunnels 360 video nbc 4 i team

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I've been having water intrusion issues and those high voltage cables have been failing with increasing frequency since Sandy, is this causing delays even now? We have a water intrusion here and they have icicles dripping onto the catenary and that can cause an outage but before it causes an outage we have to send guys to clear the ice and again because there are only two runways if you close one of them to make that type of maintenance, causes a cascade of delays 450 trains a day 200,000 people you can see some of the water as you can you know as we pass by here this is the Weehawken well you can You can see where we were talking about these types of topics.
deteriorating hudson river tunnels 360 video nbc 4 i team
I mean, here's a question: If we don't get funding for this soon, then we can't start building this new tunnel soon, which means we can't close and rehabilitate. this tunnel soon what is the effective life of this tunnel? Yes, you know it's a good question. I mean, you know, no one can say for sure how long this tunnel can last. I mean, he's already 108 years old, so we don't want to find him. This is really the bottom line and that's why we call it the most urgent project in the country. This is an area where 10% of the nation's gross domestic product is created and links the 20% of GDP being created in the northeast corner.
deteriorating hudson river tunnels 360 video nbc 4 i team
I've talked about the bench wall, tell me about the track deck, there will be some major renovations. I'm glad you asked, that's the other really important piece here, so in addition to all the specific problems we have both on the bank wall and inside the tunnel, the track bed is built on rock, it's a trap with ballast, which is never how a tunnel would be built today. It was built again in 1910, which has caused major drainage problems and major straight flow problems, so we need to do that when we rehabilitate the tunnel. We're going to replace that with what's called direct fix track where you remove the stones and basically lay the track directly on the concrete and that's a much more efficient way to do it.
There has been a lot of talk about the possibility that this rehabilitation could be seen. like the MTA L train tunnel rehab, can we do this the same way we're thinking about doing the El train? Yes, there are a couple of important distinctions between the El train project in this project, right? We are definitely interested in us. We're looking at the El Train solution, the El Train project and seeing if it applies here and I could write if it does, it definitely, you know, it could help us replace the walls of the banks and maybe in a more efficient way, maybe maybe save us. some time and some money, you know, but it won't be a major point, it won't negate the need to close the tunnel for long-term rehabilitation, mainly because the trackbed here needs to be torn up and replaced and that's not work, you can do it. do on nights and weekends, we have to go from ballast to the track, as you see here, these rocks and put concrete and make a direct fix track beyond the direct fix track, although what's the attraction of the El train strategy and possibly use something?
Well, if it's going to save us time and money, then that's attractive. I mean, if we're putting the bank wall back in, that's just one aspect of the rehab work we need to do here. We need to replace the road bed, we have a lot of rehabilitation, basically, we need to gut the tunnel and essentially rebuild it from Do we even know how high the water rose? Oh you are in Chandi, yes absolutely, where are they coming from? The water line, as you know, is a little hard to see now, but a little further into the tunnel you can see the water line.
Thank you and the moment. I think you know it went over the bank wall in some places. They're both two, but this is the bank wall right here and up, yeah, so we're talking millions of gallons times four feet, five feet, yeah, six feet. Wow, here you come, we're on the New York side now. of the tunnel you can see the two tunnel portals on the right, we just came out of the south tube and this is the north tube up here, in the upper right, there is a ramp that goes down from the courtyard on the west side of the West End of Long Island Rail Road and that's where the water in Sandy came down and turned the corner and entered the tunnel to the south here a little to the south is where the new tunnel will come in here is where the new tunnel will connect to Basically, Penn Station moves going south and then it gets here, it will connect with these tracks to connect directly to the Penn Station platforms that we are approaching now.
This is back to the big general political question. What does Amtrak want to say to the Trump administration right now? Well, I mean, look, the Trump administration has been weak. You know, we've worked very closely with them on the EIS for the tunnel. You know, we tell them what I've kept from everyone else, I mean, this is the most urgent infrastructure project in the country, 20% of the nation's GDP is at stake and I think they understand that this is really not something that is in dispute, this needs to move forward, it needs to move quickly and every day we delay increases the risk to the nation's economy

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