Eighteen months ago, in August of 2009, a large chunk of the ceiling at the 1 train’s 181st St. station came tumbling down. The station was shuttered for two weeks as MTA crews worked to clear the tracks and temporarily shore up the ceiling. As the authority dealt with the aftermath of the accident, news developments were alarming, to say the least. Initial reports noted how the MTA had a plan to fix the ceiling in 2007 but had to postpone them due to budgetary concerns while a subsequent investigation found that the MTA had known about the ceiling since 1999.
So today, has the ceiling been repaired? Of course not. As DNAInfo’s Carla Zanoni reports today, the MTA is still trying to formulate plans to repair the ceiling. The authority, which has also found ceiling weaknesses at the 168th St. station, says, according to Zanoni, that the age and initial construction of the landmarked stations is proving a stumbling block. “It seems the original architects relied on physics to keep up the archways,” the MTA’s Marcus Book said.
Right now, the authority expects to begin repair work in 2012, and the work at 181st St. alone could cost $17.5 million. Still, it will likely be three years between the initial accident and permanent repairs. A temporary solution keeps subway riders safe for now, but we can’t put band aids on long-term problems and expect everything to be fine. The system needs its economic support, and this ceiling problem is simply indicative of institutional issues at every level.