Explosion A Reminder Of NYC’s Aging Infrastructure


The report’s author, Adam Forman, noted that Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor from 2002 through 2013, oversaw significant new construction, but said the city lost ground during that period in terms of infrastructure maintenance.

“Repairing and replacing aging infrastructure is not glamorous, but it’s critical,” said Forman, who suggested that the East Harlem explosion might be the sort of catalyst needed to gain politicians’ attention.

Forman said the federal government will need to help with the repair bill, but his report also suggests that New York could find some of the needed money through a residential parking permit program and the raising of tolls on East River bridges linking Manhattan with Queens and Brooklyn.

According to Forman’s report:

  • More than 1,000 miles of New York City water mains are 100-plus years old. The typical water main is 69 years old, and there have been more than 400 water main breaks annually in recent years.
  • More than 160 bridges across the city’s five boroughs were built more than a century ago, and 47 bridges in 2012 were deemed structurally deficient and prone to collapse.
  • The subway system abounds with signals that have exceeded their 50-year useful life, slowing the movement of trains and forcing maintenance workers to build their own replacement parts because manufacturers no longer make them.

Similar problems beset cities across the United States.

In Washington, D.C., for example, a research team from Duke University and Boston University recently reported finding more than 5,890 leaks from aging natural gas pipelines. The team said some manholes had methane concentrations about 10 times greater than the threshold at which explosions can occur.

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Posted by on Apr 1st, 2014 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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