Amtrak service to resume this week amid repairs to garage above NYC tracks

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Repairs underway at damaged garage; Amtrak service to resume this week
CeFaan Kim reports on the latest Amtrak repairs.

HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Repair crews are hard at work in a parking garage in Hell's Kitchen and trying to fix two holes that led Amtrak to suspend service between New York City and Albany-- and service could resume later this week.

The holes prompted officials to close the Hudson View garage with more than 100 vehicles still inside. Customers were told they would not be able to retrieve their cars until Saturday at the earliest.

Amtrak crews were on the scene at 51st Street between 10th and 11th avenues on Tuesday morning, which was encouraging to customers and residents.

Mayor Eric Adams said that partial Amtrak service is expected to be back Thursday with a full return to service by Friday.

The Department of Buildings confirmed the mayor's timeline, saying enough work should be complete to open one of two Amtrak lines Wednesday evening in time to run trains on the line early Thursday morning. They say repairs will continue, leading to the second Amtrak line to open as soon as Friday night.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she will deploy officials to the site to help determine a path forward.

"Thousands of New Yorkers rely on Amtrak service for their daily commute or long-distance travel," Hochul said. "I'm outraged that service between Albany and New York City has been suspended for so long, especially as we approach some of the busiest travel days of the year during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While we know it can be difficult to repair aging infrastructure, a delay of this length is unacceptable."

DOB officials say the public may not see a lot of work being done because much of it will happen behind closed doors and underground.

Photos provided by the buildings department show crews over the weekend finding additional issues while installing overhead protection above the tracks.

Engineers found structural issues at the roof of the tunnel below the parking garage and structural defects, including cracked and deteriorated beams.

The first hole was found on the entrance ramp of the parking garage and measured 6 inches by 10 inches. Crews also found a second hole on the ramp to the lower level measuring approximately 2 inches by 5 inches.

Although shoring work and repairs have begun, there is no exact timeline on how long repairs will last.

DOB has determined none of the neighboring buildings were impacted, which was a major concern among residents.

Meanwhile, the City Council has introduced a bill that would increase the frequency of parking garage inspections after the collapse in Lower Manhattan last April. It has not yet passed into law.

But Professor Magued Iskander, the chair of NYU's Civil and Urban Engineering Department, says garage owners may have learned a valuable lesson.

"I think the level of urgency this time was much faster," Iskander said. "Garages are deteriorating because of de-icing salts and we're all driving heavier cars than our parents is a factor that requires old garages should be checked periodically basically."

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