Thursday, January 20, 2011

Court Street Utility Debacle Continues

Here's the latest on the Court Street Utility Debacle that began with leaking gas on Tuesday night and escalated with a broken water line yesterday from the 76th Precinct:
*Update on the partial street collapse on Court Street, between 1st and 2nd Place.

One lane of traffic on Court Street has now been re-opened. All agencies are working together to limit the impact on the community. It is still unknown at this time how long the work will take to complete. Should Court Street need to be closed again, a new traffic diversion plan has been established between the 76th Precinct and the Traffic Agents that should reduce the traffic congestion that was experienced earlier.
So what happened?  (Katia already entirely beat me to this, but I've already written the post, so here's my experience and pictures anyway)  On Wednesday afternoon Mia was returning from work on Long Island.  "What's going on?  Our block is closed off, Court Street is blocked off, there's emergency vehicles and police everywhere."  Time to investigate.  Outside, 1st Place was empty, but I could see the commotion at Court Street.
Traffic on Court was being diverted at President Street.  Court Street was ripped open in front of CVS between 1st and 2nd Place.
The pictures don't really capture the scope of the activity.  1st Place resident Barbara reported:
There was a gas leak in front of CVS last night that you could smell throughout the neighborhood, and Court Street was closed, and they were detouring cars up 1st Place to Smith. It was pretty noisy outside, as cars were unhappy. It was pretty scary - as you couldn't help but think of the San Bruno, Pacific Gas and Light explosion.

Paradoxically, it was not fire but water that caused the greatest disruptions.  From the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, via CB6 yesterday...
Court St has been temporarily closed between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and President St in Brooklyn due to a flooding condition. Expect heavy traffic delays in the area.

National Grid has cut and capped a gas main which services 391 thru 395 Court Street (one building with several addresses). The building has no gas at this time. During repairs a 4-inch sprinkler service water main was broken. DEP has isolated the break.

DEP and FDNY are removing 5 feet of water in building's basements on Court Street between 1st Place and 2nd Place.  Court Street is closed from President Street going south. The B57 bus line is being rerouted. OEM operations continue.

Early Wednesday evening OEM issued the following update:
Update on Court Street Water Leak from Mayor's Office of Emergency Management...

An Interagency meeting was conducted with the following agencies in attendance: Con Ed, National Grid, DEP, DOT, NYPD, FDNY, building owner, and the building owner's contractor.

DEP states that all residents have had water service restored. The source of the leak has been identified as the sprinkler service line. The sprinkler line service has been discontinued and the water leak has been terminated.

Con Ed will first have to remove duct infrastructure before the building contractor can begin work on repairing the sprinkler line. Con Ed is going to start their operations as soon as manpower and material are on scene either tonight or tomorrow morning.

National Grid is placing a temporary service line to restore all effected costumers. National Grid will begin perrmanent repair work after the building contractor has completed his phase of the repair work. All customers will have gas service restored tonight.

DOT is going to open up the west side of Court Street to vehicle traffic until work begins tomorrow morning. DOT will place pedestrian safety control devices at the location tonight. Vehicle traffic will be closed tomorrow morning when repair work begins again. The hole to be back filled is approximately 10x30 feet. DOT will return tomorrow morning to coordinate the back filling process. Backfilling will be conducted in phases of repair. Backfilling will be in conjunction with each utility company's completion of repair work.

The building owner has hired a licensed water main contractor that will begin repair work to the sprinkler line after Con Ed has removed electric duct work from the affected area for safety reasons.

NYPD will maintain a presence for vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  FDNY has concluded de-watering operations and is taking up from the scene.
It's amazing what an impact a seemingly small utility issue can have isn't it?  On my walk back from the YMCA last night there were a lot of frustrated drivers on Court and side streets between Atlantic and 1st Place.  Fortunately, the sidewalks were open for business.

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