Port Authority Estimates Sandy Damage at $300M

Work on the Hoboken station is still being done. Repairs will take several more weeks.

The Hoboken PATH station — usually full of waiting PATH riders between New York and New Jersey — remained quiet on Tuesday morning, while Port Authority workers continue to repair the massive damage that was done by Superstorm Sandy.

Thousands of gallons of water flooded the Hoboken station, which is currently the only station that is still closed. Water came in through the walls and elevators leading to the station, in one case shattering the elevator's glass.

The breaker rooms that house all the electrical wires for the tunnels were severely flooded too and are still being repaired, said acting director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Stephen Kingsberry.

The total damage to the PATH system, said Kingsberry, is about $300 million. Kingsberry said the authority is working with FEMA to pay for the damage.

As far as an estimated date goes for the opening of the Hoboken station, Kingsberry said "it'll be weeks instead of months." 

Stairways to Hoboken's 100-year-old station were replaced, he said, as well as all the turnstiles and the track signal system. The system's pumps are also being replaced.

"All equipment was damaged," said Kingsberry.

In an earlier interview, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that "a much more resilient" path station would be built which would include two pumps — for the possibility of future flooding — and two control panels.

"This works normally takes six to nine months," Zimmer said.

Vice President Joe Biden also toured the damaged station when he visited Hoboken two weeks ago.

In preparation of the storm, about 3,000 sandbags were places, said Kingsberry. If it had been a normal storm, he said, "we would have been able to handle it ... it was larger than anybody ever expected."

About ten million gallons of water flooded the system. As far as damage goes, said Kingsberry, Sandy was much bigger than 9/11.

Tom O'Neill, a 12-year PATH veteran, agreed. 

"This was worse than 9/11 for us," said O'Neill, who climbed into the flood water in one of the tunnels to turn on the pump after the storm. O'Neill, 56, went into the tunnel in a police boat, he said.

After climbing out and submerging himself in the cold water, he turned on the pump.

"I don't know how cold it was," O'Neill said. At that point, he said, "the adrenaline was flowing."

After more than a decade as a maintenance works and the son of a PATH employee, O'Neill said he considers the Port Authority a "family business."

"I know the guys that work here," he said. "They're working hard."

But fixing the system just takes time.

"Electric and water don't mix," said O'Neill. "It just doesn't."

Ojo Rojo November 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I applaud the guy for going down there in those flood waters to turn on the pump but why didn't anyone ever think that maybe it would be a good idea to be able to turn on the pump remotely from above ground?
pdq November 27, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Somebody needs to ask NJ transit, "who thought it would be a good idea to house the locomotives in the Hoboken Station?" Some 85 - 100 trains were destroyed. Irresponsible, wreckless and reprehensible behavior by whomever is running that org. Of course, no difference to them as these fixes will be at ratepayer expense.
pdq November 27, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Donna Colantuno November 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Probably because those tunnels were built so long ago?
mrvrnj421 November 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I really have no idea, but do they have somewhere else house them? Hindsight is always 20/20, no one anticipated the storm causing this much damage to our area.
mrvrnj421 November 27, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I guess that gives me some answers, but I would like to hear exactly what the options were and why they would have been better decisions at the time...at the end of the day, I don't think pointing fingers is going to help anything. I doubt they wanted to lose those trains.
marley November 28, 2012 at 01:16 AM
What Is That Acrid Smoke In Hoboken?? Since Sandy there has been a very heavy and burning odor of smoke in Hoboken. My family lives 1 block from Hoboken University and we think it's the incierator smoke they run at sundown and most of the night. Causes headaches and asthma. Who tests and regulates HUMC, is it OPRA information? The employee in deli across the street says it runs all night and makes him feel ill. Has anyone noticed this? Thanks
M@C November 28, 2012 at 02:08 PM
This is only one of the many issues Hoboken has to deal with. What about all of the basement apartments that flood over and over. When does someone consider the fact that perhaps those apartments are not a good idea? What about the amentities that are going to move out? I live on 9th and Jefferson and HAD a Shop-rite close by. Now it's apparently going to close because it's tired of the repeated flooding. Can someone figure out a way reduce or stop the flooding? Hearing the Mayor talk about pumps in the Path Station seems silly. Wasn't that her plan for the city of Hoboken? Pumps? So when the pumps get overwhelmed we know what happens....
I am Spartacus November 28, 2012 at 03:53 PM
They could have parked them on some random piece of track on higher ground. There is tons of track to choose from.
XJS November 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
If you live at 9th and Jefferson you should walk over to the Shop Rite. They're done gutting it, they've actually even finished with the heat/dehumidifying aspect, and they're starting the repairs. They're hoping to reopen by Christmas.
I am Spartacus November 28, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Pumps don't help much when the water rises so high it just floods into town from both the north end and the south b/c the Hudson rose so high that it flowed right down city streets into town.
Sally Cummings December 01, 2012 at 04:18 PM
No, it wasn't the Hudson overflowing. I live on Bloomfield and my house stayed dry. The ocean rose and caused the flooding by Shop Rite.. Hoboken used to be an island. The area on the west side is landfill over tidelands. Building on or near tidelands is risky.
CuriousGal December 02, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Actually pumps would have helped greatly once the water reached normal levels (about 36 hours after the height of the water). 4 pumps would have Hoboken pumped out very quickly-- reducing the need for National Guard, reducing the need for extraordinary measures to help people trapped in their homes, increasing emergency access throughout the city and allowing gas, electric, and sewage service to be up and running on a much more aggressive schedule than what played out. Hoboken needs 4 pumping stations. At one time, Dawn ran on the 4 pumps issue...until getting elected and it became another forgotten promise. Unfortunately, this time there were significant costs both financially, physically, and emotionally for broken promises.
I am Spartacus December 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The water was largely gone in town 48 hours after the height of the flooding because of the pumps we already have and the flow of water out of town once the water receded. By 60 hours after the storm, I was able to walk to Jersey City and stay dry the entire trip.
I am Spartacus December 02, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Yes, yes, we all know technically it was a storm surge pushing water from the sea towards the bay and up the river that caused the flooding. The difference this time vs. so many other times is that the flooding wasn't caused by a ton of rain but it was caused by wall of water rising so high and so fast that it flowed right in from the Hudson River over every obstacle in its path and right down city streets from the north and south ends of town and that is why the pumps were useless. Pumps can only pump water out, they can't keep a rising river out!
ThisMeansWar December 02, 2012 at 11:30 PM
All of the people not choking down a box of Twinkies - which includes the so-called old guard - have realized that Zimmer's performance during Sandy has moved her from very hard to beat to out of the question. That just leaves you to work the 4 pumps lie. Funny how no one in your beloved "credentialed media" has picked up on this story. Why don't you try it on Perry. I hear he'd run anything for a half a pizza. Or you could spew some more venom about Minutillo. You can do a lot of things. You just can't seem to do anything that matters or helps your side.
puzzledone December 03, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Woohoo, you mean 36 hours after the storm surge, after all the major damage was done, and when almost all of the flooding was already subsided, we could have had less water on the ground? Got any science to back your claim up? How much more aggressive could we really have been about getting power up? It shut down Monday night and the city was pretty much 100% electrified (with the exception of building issues) within a week, despite early indications that it would be 2 or more. Most of Jersey, with less damage, took longer to power on. How much more would those three pumps cost? Worth it for a 1 in 200+ year event and 1-2 days of excess flooding and without power? Would the minority allow bonding for more pumps, or would you just complain that "Dawn won't give anything to the minority in exchange for their votes blah blah blah"?
XJS December 03, 2012 at 03:29 PM
That's exactly right, Spartacus. The water flowed in from the cove at 16th and Park/Willow. Not along Hudson Street (which is higher). So Bloomfield didn't get it but everything west of Park did on the north end, and everything west of Bloom did on the south end.


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