MTA searches for room for buses during NYC depot closure

The roof of the city’s largest bus depot is in danger of collapsing and will have to be closed for months for repairs – a potential traffic nightmare.

Renovations at the Michael J. Quill Depot on Manhattan’s West Side are expected to begin next year, The Post has learned, as the MTA scrambles to find space for the 120 buses currently parked there, it was announced Tuesday.

The repair work has been delayed by two years, despite being flagged as potentially at risk by the state Department of Labor earlier this year, according to internal documents seen by the Post.

“The Department of Buses should have looked into the conditions of the roof [one-and-a-half] years ago and … nothing was done or addressed,” DOL Inspector Kwo Lam informed bus officials in March.

Lam warned that a “huge amount of cracks” would “propagate” across the roof and continue to seep water to the ground below.

“It is not a question of time, but when a risk of collapse can occur,” he said in his email.

Buses, a staple of NYC life, are now a headache for some MTA executives.
Buses, a staple of NYC life, are now a headache for some MTA executives.
GN Miller/NY Post

Subsequent analysis, conducted by an MTA worker, concluded the structure is not currently in danger of collapsing, but said “water ingress” caused cracks in the roof foundation that “ultimately … the [integrity] from the system.”

“The short-term solution was to fill cracks,” says the engineer, summarizing the findings. “If the damage is left unattended, the problem can spread further to the post-tension strands/cables, compromising the structure.”

The roof of the depot can accommodate up to 120 buses at the same time. MTA officials are struggling to find space to make up for lost storage capacity during repair work, sources said.

The MTA is looking for space for the 100+ buses that need to be moved.
The MTA is looking for space for the 100+ buses that need to be moved.
Google Earth

Officials are considering roads and lots as far south as Harlem, internal documents show — including the nearby Javits Center, curbside patches at 40th and 41st Streets, the Sanitation Department garage at 57th Street, and surface lots at 30th and 30th Streets 126th street.

An MTA official confirmed the depot will experience “partial closures” of indefinite duration over the course of the 12-month project, but insisted the roof is structurally sound.

MTA spokeswoman Joana Flores said that “MTA Professional Engineers evaluated the roof and determined it to be in good structural condition and recommended repairs to keep it in safe condition.”

The transportation agency is working with the city’s Department of Transportation to find storage areas and study possible traffic impacts on the neighborhood, the official said.

“The project will last about a year and will be implemented in phases to minimize disruption to the depot and the public,” they said. “The roof is not closed all year round.”

Internal MTA documents indicate the closure could last anywhere from three weeks to four months — a prospect that sends shivers down local leaders’ spines.

The Quill depot is located on the opposite side of West 41st Street from two luxury apartment towers — whose residents can now expect “noise” and “dust” as a result of the year-long renovation, sources said.

Community Board 4 Transportation chair Christine Berthet said the area has been “overwhelmed by buses for a long time” and questioned the value of the MTA looking for bus storage locations without consulting the community.

“You can’t put 100 buses on the street without affecting the neighborhood,” said Berthet.

“It will be important for the MTA to get in touch with us as soon as possible. Obviously MTA doesn’t work like that most of the time, but I’m sure they are capable of it.”

DOT did not return a request for comment.

A representative for the state Department of Labor said the agency does not comment or confirm ongoing investigations.

Additional reporting by Desheania Andrews MTA searches for room for buses during NYC depot closure


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