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Sandy-Damaged Subway Tunnel Closing For Repairs; Disruptions For R, G Riders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A subway tunnel that was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy will be closed for long-term repairs beginning in the summer.

Salt from storm surges heavily damaged electronic components in the Montague tube under the East River and is still causing corrosion.

The closure will affect the R train, which carries tens of thousands of riders between Manhattan and southern Brooklyn, meaning no service between Jay Street-MetroTech and Whitehall-South Ferry, meaning more crowding on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, B, D, F, N and Q trains, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported.

The work will likely begin in August and is expected to last 12 to 14 months, transit officials said.

"It's very close to almost building a tunnel from scratch," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Appointee Tom Prendergast told WCBS 880's Paul Murnane on Wednesday.

Sandy-Damaged Subway Tunnel Closing For Repairs

Many straphangers weren't happy to hear the news.

"I thought it would have been dealt with six months ago," one subway rider told Murnane.

"Commuting every day is going to get even longer than it already is! And that's not fun," rider Jessica Romeo told Aiello.

Rider Andrew Glasser said when the tunnel was closed after Sandy, he took the 4 or the 5.

"Made them significantly more crowded. Lot harder ride; lot harder to find a seat; impossible to be comfortable on the train," Glasser said.

"How can you cope with that when a lot of people don't have cars and a lot of people take the R and N, especially coming from this part of Brooklyn," another man told 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg. "People are not going to be happy at all."

The MTA also plans to close a tunnel used by the G train between Brooklyn and Queens for 12 weekends this year.

"Closing these two subway tubes is a difficult but necessary step to restore them to the condition they were in before Sandy struck," said MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer. "The temporary repairs that returned these tubes to operation after Sandy are not enough to provide reliable service."

MTA Video Release: Tunnel Repair & Inspections - Montague St & Greenpoint 6/5/2013 by mtainfo on YouTube

"The closure of the tunnels is a very serious matter. We don't do this lightly," Ferrer added.

"They say they can do it and stay inside their guidelines but their guidelines are already incredibly crowded," Gene Russianoff with the Straphangers Campaign told Murnane.

Straphangers React As Sandy-Damaged Subway Tunnel Will Close For Repairs

The MTA said its system sustained an estimated $4.755 billion worth of damage as railroad and subway lines, vehicular tunnels, subway stations and power and signal equipment were inundated with corrosive salt water during Sandy.

Sandy-Damaged Subway Tunnel Closing For Repairs

"The Department of Transportation is investing more than $10 billion throughout the Tri-State region to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and make the region's transportation network stronger and more resilient than before," said Peter Rogoff, administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, said last month.

Sandy-Damaged Subway Tunnel Closing For Repairs

R train customers will be able to use existing free transfers to any of the adjacent subway lines to travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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