Governor Cuomo announced today a total shutdown of the transit systems is set to begin Saturday, August 27 at noon in preparation for Hurricane Irene.
The MTA plans to close all service on buses, subways, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North before the storm hits the city’s transit systems, which cannot operate safely with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.
"We have moved quickly to initiate our emergency plans, to work with our federal and local partners, and to identify, prepare, and put into place one of the most aggressive activations of New York State government ever assembled in the face of a possible natural disaster," Governor Cuomo said. "We are fully committed and we are preparing for the worst."
New York City has the nation’s largest mass transit system, including all buses, subways, and commuter rail. The MTA said it would take at least eight hours to stop the system – which averages over five million passenger trips a day.
The MTA has made arrangements for extra employees to work over the weekend and to handle the necessary work to prepare the system for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.
Workers will be clearing drains, securing work sites against potential high winds, checking and fueling equipment, and moving supplies away from low-lying areas as needed, since even minor storms can freeze the subway pump system.
According to Fox News, the MTA’s LIRR has already began reducing service on Friday, with the shutdown of the Hamptons Reserve Service.
Governor Cuomo also announced that if winds exceed 60 mph all the following bridges will be closed to all traffic: George Washington Bridge, Tappan Zee bridge, all bridges operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and the following Hudson River bridges: Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie), Kingston-Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle (Catskill).
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will stop all service starting at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Michael Nutter, Philadelphia’s mayor announced today.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said NJ Transit would suspend service starting at noon on Saturday.