Part of the ceiling came crashing down onto the rails on Sunday evening. No one was injured, but it could have been disasterous.
"This could have killed somebody," Mayor Bloomberg said earlier today. "Fortunately, it did not."
Repair work to remove debris and any remaining loose brick from the architectural façade of the ceiling at the station is proceeding around the clock, officials said.
Before trains can resume operating through the 181st Street station, a contractor must build a protective barrier that will stretch across the track bed and platform in the area of the arched portion of the historic ceiling, which partially collapsed on Sunday evening.
Once the barrier is built, the contractor will use it as a work platform to carefully remove any remaining loose bricks and began the repair process. Given the landmark status of the station, officials said the restoration has to be done with sensitivity to preservation requirements.
MTA does not anticipate resuming 1 service until this weekend.
Despite claims to the contrary, NYC Transit said it was keenly aware that the ceiling was in need of repair and restoration.
A plan was already in place and the awarding of a construction contract is planned for early 2010.
Two other stations (168th Street 1 and 181st Street on the A) have a similar design, but only 168th Street features a brick ceiling. The consultant contract for the 181st Street ceiling will be expanded to include inspection of the 168th Street station as well.
Officials noted that all NYC Transit tunnels and elevated structures are inspected on a yearly basis.
Travel Advisories as issued by MTA
Customers in Upper Manhattan who can use the A Line at stations between 207th Street and 168th Street are strongly urged to do so in order to avoid overcrowding on the 1 Line during both the morning and evening rush hour periods. Until further notice, 1 train service will continue to operate in two sections, with a FREE shuttle bus in operation between affected stations in Upper Manhattan:
Additional Transit personnel will be on hand at both the 168th Street and Dyckman Street stations on the 1 line to assist customers with travel information. This suspension in service will continue to have an impact on wheelchair customers who rely on the 1 train. Those customers are advised to do the following:
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