May 2, 2018 By Christian Murray
The MTA will be repairing and repainting the elevated 7 line from 72nd Street in Jackson Heights through to 104th Street in Corona, the agency announced today.
The work, which will cost $45 million, will include the removal of paint, dirt, grease and grime from the elevated structure. It will also include the repair of structural beams and the repainting of all structural steel surfaces.
“This critical painting and structural repair work will improve the commuting experience for our riders in the near-term, as well as help ensure the long-term safety and reliability of our system,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford in a statement.
The project is expected to take two years. A starting date and what service changes will be necessary to carry out the job have yet to be disclosed.
The MTA is also planning to repair and repaint the 7-line from 42nd Street in Sunnyside to 72nd Street in Jackson Heights. That job will be put out for bid at the end of the year.
The MTA has been subject to criticism in recent years from elected leaders about dangerous paint chips falling from the line containing high lead levels.
A report released by the District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades revealed that paint chips falling from the 52nd Street 7 train station contained lead amounts of 244,000 parts per million, which is equivalent to about 50 times in excess of the legal requirements for lead.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation–sponsored by State Sen. Jose Peralta–last year requiring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority to conduct studies and disclose the amount of lead paint falling onto the streets below during renovations.
“I have been pushing the MTA for many years to repaint and repair the elevated structure of the century-old 7-train line,” Peralta said in a statement. “This project will be vital to start eliminating the hazardous conditions people are exposed to when walking under the 7-train line.”
Congressman Joseph Crowley said the repairs and repainting are long overdue. “I look forward to working with the MTA, Councilman Dromm and other community leaders to ensure the line is safely repainted and that a functional public transit system does not come at the cost of our community’s well-being.”