First they had rats. Now they have cracks!
Massive — and lengthy — repairs to the elevated train columns along New Utrecht Avenue are already starting to fall apart, with cracks forming in the newly poured concrete around the poles that keep the D line from collapsing onto the busy street below.
“[The concrete’s] cracking already and the job’s not even done!” said Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager for Community Board 11, pointing to a column on New Utrecht Avenue and 79th Street with a crack running across the concrete slab. “They can’t leave it like this!”
The cracking concrete is the latest headache for neighbors of the beleaguered strip, who say that the MTA’s two-year project has caused New Utrecht Avenue to become a trash-strewn and rat-infested hell hole.
The MTA started work on the line more than two years ago, with construction crews digging out the bases of nearly 500 stanchions along the strip so they can fill the pits with new concrete.
So far, workers have filled 400 pits, but merchants say the project is taking way to long and the unfilled pits have attracted tons of garbage.
“I think the city needs to put a hot pepper up [the workers’ rear-ends],” Angel Maza, who owns a deli between 62nd and 65th streets, told us last month. “[Pedestrians] wouldn’t litter in the columns if the workers did their jobs.”
Others have charged that the work riled up burrows of slimy, beady-eyed rats — who then descended upon the commercial district to feast upon trash, scare kids, and take over homes in a Hamelinesque nightmare that no city agency can seem to control.
The MTA says that it’s working as fast as it can to fill the pits — even though the agency shut down all construction projects from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1.
“We did not do any work during the holiday embargo,” said MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker.
Parker said the MTA has been made aware of the cracks, and is currently investigating why the concrete is splitting so quickly.Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@c