Officials are scrambling to fix where a huge part of the ceiling collapsed in the 181st Street subway station in Washington Heights where the No. 1 train runs. Upper Manhattan is expected to not have No. 1 train service through this weekend and possibly into next week, with service suspended from 168 Street to Dyckman Street stations. Both tracks and the edges of the platforms were covered with rubble when the incident occurred Sunday at 10:30 p.m. No one was injured.
While the debris is being removed and a protective barrier is built where the ceiling gave way, free shuttle buses are running between 168th Street and Dyckman Street stations. Although this will somewhat ease the problem, it takes the equivalent of 20 shuttle buses to make up one full train of passengers.
The 181st Street subway station is 103 years old and complaints about crumbling tiles and water leaks poured in from local residents, but transit officials did too little too late. Local officials believe water seepage was the main reason for the collapse, a regular complaint at many of the deep No. 1 line stations that are not well kept or well lit. At three stories below, the 181st Street station is one of the deepest and dampest subways in New York City, with the elevators often under repair. A contract for construction is expected to be set in early 2010.
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