By Scott Etkin
Workers have repaired a collapsed section of pipe that drains stormwater from the 86th Street Transverse in Central Park, which has recently been a source of flooding during heavy rainstorms, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced earlier this week.
In late April, West Side Rag reported that the transverse was shut down for a Sunday and into early Monday morning when a foot of water collected in the roadway following heavy rains.
DEP discovered a collapsed section of pipe during an inspection using a remote TV camera. It turns out that roots from a mature London Plane tree had infiltrated the pipe. Arborists from the Central Park Conservancy estimate that the tree, more than three feet around, is between 80 and 100 years old.
DEP collaborated with the New York City Parks department forestry division and the Central Park Conservancy to fix the sewer without removing or damaging the tree, which has been designated for preservation. “Approximately 80 feet of new 24-inch reinforced concrete pipe has been rerouted around the tree, while the existing collapsed sewer will be abandoned in place to not disturb the tree’s roots,” according to the announcement. “Two new access manholes were installed at the pipe’s turning points.”
The project, which costs approx. $500,000 and is funded by the DEP, began in May. While the repairs on the collapsed section of sewer have been completed, DEP will periodically close the 86th Street Transverse to traffic overnight and during weekends in order to reinforce the sewer running below the transverse roadway. A spokesperson from DEP told WSR that this work is likely to continue though the end of July.