How New York City is Protecting Its Subway System Against Flooding

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When a concerned person tweeted a photo of the Broadway Station entrance in Williamsburg which was completely flooded, New York City’s (NYC) Subway account replied tongue-in-cheek that they were pivoting to submarines.

In a more serious followup reply, the NYCT explained that the agency was testing a newly installed “flex-gate”.  A flex-gate is a highly flexible covering that can be quickly deployed to protect a subway’s entrance and underground structures in the event of a flood.

“But actually, we were testing a new ‘flex gate,’ which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We ‘test flood’ the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which it was!”

During Hurricane Sandy, several subways stations in New York City experienced severe flooding. The South Ferry station on the No. 1 was flooded with 15 million gallons of water during that hurricane.  It took five years and $340 million worth of repairs before the station was reopened.  By installing flex-gates at subways entrances, the MTA hopes to prevent climate-related flood damage.

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