Mark Groce: I'm Mark Groce, and you're listening to an “Improving, non-stop” podcast on TransitTrax, New York City Transit's podcast service.
If you're a regular commuter on the F or G line, or you're just trying to reach your destination, then you may have noticed some major work going on, on the Culver Viaduct. Spanning the Gowanus Canal, and standing 90 feet at its peak, the viaduct is a mile long corridor between the Smith and 9 St and the 4 and 9 St stations, and has not seen a major overhaul in over 70 years of use. Jacques Mayarv is the construction manager.
Jacques Mayarv: Over the years, due to water penetration and all that, the structure has been severely deteriorated. So now the scope of this project includes, but not limited to, removing existing tracks, existing switches, track drainage system, signal system. We are rehabilitating and waterproofing the viaduct concrete deck, installing new, low vibration tracks, new switches and a state-of-the art signal system, a new track drainage system, and also new signal rooms.
Mark Groce: The Culver line rehabilitation project will be done in four phases over a period of 47 months.
Jacques Mayarv: Phase 1 has an overall duration of 22 months in which we did the express tracks, tracks B3 and B4. Phase 2 has an overall duration of 10 months in which we're doing track B3 and track B2. Once that's done we will move into Phase 3 that has also a duration of 10 months. Now B1 and B4 will be rehabilitated. And Phase 4 has a duration of 5 months, in which we will be doing some extensive testing of the new equipment.
Mark Groce: One of the challenges of a project like this is doing it while keeping trains in service. During the rehabilitation process the F and G service will experience minor diversions. Allyson Bechtal of Operations Planning explains how to get around during construction.
Allyson Bechtal: So right now, the F and G are servicing all stations affected by the project except at Smith-9 St. The F is skipping Smith-9t St in the Manhattan-bound direction. So, riders still have G service going northbound and F and G service in the southbound direction. But otherwise, the F and G are making all local stops.
And, Smith-9 St will close for its rehabilitation on June 20 and that closure will last about 9 months. And during this time the B57 and B61 bus routes will service adjacent stations. And, in addition, during the over night period, we'll be increasing B61 service so that it more closely matches the frequency of the overnight subway service.
And then, in the fall, starting in November, the southbound local track will be taken out of service and the F and G will both operate on the express track between Smith-9 St and Church Av. So, this means that riders at 15 St and Fort Hamilton Pkwy will only have northbound service. So, riders coming to those stations, from north of those stations will need to back-ride at Church Av.
In addition at 4 Av, southbound service will be accessed via a temporary platform and so 4 Av will still have F and G service in both directions, it's just that south bound service will be on a temporary platform.
Mark Groce: And when all of the work is done customers will see and feel the improvement. Dilip Patel is a New York City Transit Program Manager.
Dilip Patel: In terms of the improvements, first of all, this is the new track system called low vibration track. Also we are improving the station at 4 Av, the platform and the canopy. The northbound platform is already done, and also likewise we're going to do the southbound platform. That is, we're going to start in November of this year. And also, part of this project, on this station rehab, is Smith and 9. That will get the full rehabilitation and we're going to start that as well.
Mark Groce: The improvements being made here on the Culver Viaduct are part of the MTA's ongoing effort to improve our infrastructure, improve your commute, and improve, non-stop. For TransitTrax I'm Mark Groce. Thanks for listening and thanks for riding with New York City Transit.