BATH BEACH/BENSONHURST/BORO PARK – MTA workers began cleaning the undersides of the elevated D train line starting from Stillwell Avenue in Bath Beach and expected to go the entire length of the track as part of a system-wide program to clear debris that might represent a hazard to pedestrians and vehicles below, MTA officials said.
The program began after two incidents in Queens in which vehicles were struck by debris sitting on tracks and supports above. One incident last month resulted in a large plank spearing the windshield of a car, but luckily not hitting anyone.
MTA workers sealed off two block areas and worked with four high-lows to raise workers, dressed in protective suits and wearing masks, to the underside of the tracks.
Once there, workers search for debris that might fall to the ground below and then mark areas where paint and metal may be loose from years of wear and vibrations.
“We found a piece of wood about this big (about 2-3 feet) and that could’ve landed on
someone,” one worker said. “But we are mostly removing loose metal that could rain down on cars and if it hits a windshield, it could crack the window, but it could also make the driver go out of control.”
After the workers clean the underside of the tracks and supports, a red mark is painted to denote completion of that section of the elevated track.
Debris is collected on plastic, including pieces of metal and lead paint.
Shams Tarek, spokesman for the MTA said that after the incidents on the 7 line, the entire
system is now being checked to “give people assurances that it will be safe.”
“We are doing every inch of the above ground structures of the entire system,” Tarek said.
The Bath Beach, Bensonhurst and north to Borough Park project will take weeks as it progresses up New Utrecht Avenue towards the underground portions of the system.
The original incident that grabbed public attention occurred on February 22 on Roosevelt Avenue and 65th Street in Woodside, underneath the 7 train line. An Uber driver came inches from being impaled by the large piece of wood, which was part of a supply platform installed many years ago and was long forgotten until the incident occurred.