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Inside the crucial (and costly) fight to fix New York's tunnels

from Governing

Superstorm Sandy roared into New York City in October 2012 pushing a wall of water ashore just half an hour after high tide. The combined 14-foot "storm tide" inundated the city, flooding 51 square miles, or about a sixth of its total land mass. It cut off power, knocked out natural gas lines and overwhelmed streets, tunnels and bridges.

In one place, between 30th and 34th streets in Midtown Manhattan, water from the swollen Hudson River spilled into the cavernous underbelly of Pennsylvania Station, arguably the most important transportation hub in North America. As the water approached, officials at Amtrak, which owns the station, confronted a gut-wrenching choice: Should they allow the seawater to flood the tunnels under the Hudson, each fragile and more than a century old, and potentially split the northeast rail corridor in half for years? Or should they force the seawater into Penn Station, where it would wreak severe damage on the railroad’s busiest passenger facility? more


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