Smith–Ninth rehab running late, station won’t reopen for months

MTA switching tracks; F express on the table
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Transportation-starved Red Hook straphangers must wait several more months before the long-shuttered Smith–Ninth Street subway station finally reopens.

The closed transit hub on the border of Red Hook and Carroll Gardens was most recently slated to reopen on Dec. 31 after 19 months of renovations — but that date has been pushed back until late March of next year, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“The contractor is behind schedule on this project due to problems with sub-contractors and the challenges associated with the unique design of the station,” said MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker in a statement.

The contractor’s “poor management” of the station’s rehabilitation is one of the causes of the prolonged delay, according to a recent report by the MTA’s Capital Program Oversight Committee, which says the station repairs will not be completed in full until April.

“Insufficient manpower and quality control, and other design issues” contributed to the postponement, the report said.

Red Hook commuters, who are strapped for public transportation options even when the elevated station servicing the F and G lines is operable, are outraged by the news.

“I’m very upset,” said Desmond Hill, a Red Hook resident. “We have been making due for the past year and a half by either walking or taking the bus to the next station. The MTA needs to speed up construction — it’s outrageous.”

Hill, who lives on Hicks Street near Lorraine Street, said that his commute to work in Coney Island has more than doubled since the closure of the Smith–Ninth Street station — forcing him to trek an extra 20 minutes to the Carroll Street station or hop on an “overcrowded” B61 bus to the Fourth Avenue–Ninth Street stop to catch the F train.

“The closure and renovation of the Smith–Ninth Street station has been the worst experience of my life,” he said.

Renovation on the platform level of the station is complete — the stop now boasts a new platform surface, new rubbing boards, new lighting, and a new public address system, the MTA spokeswoman said.

Now the project is moving indoors.

“Work continues on the new, more spacious control house and the reshaping of the enclosure of the escalator and stairs to improve customer service,” said Parker, who confirmed that the station is slated to open “by the end of the first quarter” in March, and that “substantial completion of the project will come in the second quarter,” between April and June.

The complete renovation of the station, now expected to cost $41.3 million, is part of the city’s $257.5 million Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project, which includes the restoration of several other stations, such as the Fourth Avenue–Ninth Street stop.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.