Author Topic: Verizon CO Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy  (Read 4589 times)

Offline AE_Collector

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Verizon CO Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« on: November 26, 2012, 08:51:38 PM »
From "The Verge"  WWW.TheVerge.Com

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/17/3655442/restoring-verizon-service-manhattan-hurricane-sandy

At Broad Street, near the tip of Lower Manhattan, the situation is far from normal. Many streets in the area are closed off and packed with trucks, equipment, and generators. Manhole covers are open everywhere. Verizon’s Broad Street central office, which routes local phone, DSL, and FiOS data, resembles a military field base. Walls of sandbags remain around the building, and the constant hum of generators and pumps bounces down the streets. The lobby of the building is covered in plywood to protect any decorations it may have, and the entrance has become a type of checkpoint lit by a string of incandescent bulbs.

On Wednesday, two weeks after the storm, I met with Verizon's Executive Director of Operations, Christopher D. Levendos, who showed me the extent of the damage and repairs. Levendos tells me the 90,000 cubic foot cable vault has suffered a “catastrophic failure,” far worse than the damage done to a similar, but much larger vault at Verizon’s West Street headquarters near the World Trade Center.

I’m told that an estimated 100 people are working here — a collection of contractors, power utility, and Verizon crews — and there seems to be a realization of how much work is left to be completed. As Levendos and I walk past the workers and squeeze between cables into the underground vault, I don’t know what to expect.

A two-day pumping operation has left the cable vault mostly dry, but it doesn’t look right. Cable insulation has been stripped back in areas, cords are cut, chunks of cables lie on the ground, and splice boxes have been torn open.

The 90,000 cubic foot cable vault has suffered a "catastrophic failure"Levendos explains to me that before crews could even begin removing water, they needed to repair ground-level fuel pumps to feed backup diesel generators on the upper floors. Two mobile generator trailers were brought in, and they remained in use when I visited, as local power utility Con Ed worked to reconnect the building to the grid. Workers then used trucks to pump dry air through the copper wiring — a job that’s typically handled by air pumps in the basement that were rendered useless by the storm surge. It was too late for the decades-old copper wiring, which was submerged for the better part of two days. After crews sent test signals into the copper, Levendos says he was "left with the conclusion here that much of what is around me has been destroyed."

Miles of copper is ruined not only in the cable vault at Broad Street, but also at 20 or so manholes around the area. Even worse, paper insulation in the copper wiring sucks water through the cabling from capillary action, destroying cabling even in dry areas. Levendos says it’s "far too tedious, time consuming, and not effective of a process to try and put this infrastructure back together," so Verizon’s taking the opportunity to rewire with fiber optics instead. Service has been restored to FiOS customers for over a week — unlike copper, fiber optics aren’t damaged by the water. As part of this process, crews have already pulled fiber up the major corridors — including Water, Broad, and Pearl Streets — to ultimately connect the fiber network to buildings.

Despite the progress, huge challenges remain. While fiber optic cabling weathered the storm, the electronics that send light through them are vulnerable to water. Verizon has to analyze the extent of damage done to equipment in buildings they serve and see how much work remains to hook up areas without FiOS. Once fiber is brought to a building’s doorstep, workers still must bring service to each and every unit. Verizon wouldn’t give me a number, but thousands served by copper-based phone and DSL remain without service to this day in Lower Manhattan. For them, the wait will surely continue as the process of bringing fiber up floor by floor progresses.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 01:12:12 AM by AE_collector »

Offline Just4Phones

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Re: Verizon Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 09:02:06 PM »
I work or should say worked at 4 NYP the day before the storm.  Our building is one block from the East River right off Broad.  We were told that the water from the river poured into and flooded 3 sub basements and came up to the escalator leading to the second floor.  We were sent to another location as they don't expect the building to be back up and running for at least 6 months.  We needed the police to take us to get all our files.  I have been in NYC for 30 years and I have never seen anything like the destruction caused by this storm....even worse than 9/11.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Verizon Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 09:20:17 PM »
What is 4 NYP?

Is my first picture the "Broad Street CO" It wasn't clear in the article.

Thanks.....Terry

Offline G-Man

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Re: Verizon CO Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 02:46:29 PM »
There are a number of other photos from the same article shown in this link:
 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/singingwires/message/105803


Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Verizon CO Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 03:48:45 PM »
Are they pictures that are in the article itself (link at top of my first post) or are they in addition to those pictures? I just picked 6 from the actual article to post here.

Terry

Offline twocvbloke

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Re: Verizon CO Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 05:18:40 PM »
You know, I can't help but wonder who thought it would be a great idea to put all that cabling & equipment underground in a city which is almost at sea level, over here, most of the telephone exchanges, from original small local places to big national things, are generally above ground, and above any potential flood sources (rivers, lakes, seas, etc.), so had they had the foresight, they could have used a couple of above-ground floors of that building to form the exchange... :-\

A couple of examples, back in Lancashire, three exchanges I knew of, Colne, Nelson and Blackburn, all three above ground, the Nelson and Blackburn ones being inside large buildings that look more like office blocks, and the Colne one being a smaller inconspicuous thing. In the Blackburn one, having gotten up close to it, you could see through the windows the rows of the hardware banks in the floors above ground, and presumably all the connecting and splicing is done on the lower floors, which is still well above a nearby small river (doubtful that one would ever burst it's banks), and the Colne one, well above the river that flows through, being pretty much on the side of a valley, and the Nelson one is just completely out of the way, it'd probably be in more danger of a mob of people rushing to buy cheap satellite receivers from Lidl just round the corner!!! :D

But anyway, I don't envy them having to replace all that copper though, pulling apart the splices, tracing where everything goes (seeing as the paper tags are probably useless now), and of course fitting new equipment to replace the copper-serving hardware to work with the fibre-optic stuff, I get confused enough with my Panasonic 616 and Nortel Compact, never mind a large city's telephone exchange... :o

Offline Just4Phones

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Re: Verizon Cable Vault in Manhattan Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 08:33:52 PM »
What is 4 NYP?

Is my first picture the "Broad Street CO" It wasn't clear in the article.

Thanks.....Terry

LOL sorry 4 NYP is Four New York Plaza.  It is across the street from the pics that you showed.  Adjoining street is and no pun intended.....Water Street  :o  I was told they pumped over 8 million gallons of water out of the building.

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/LM/LM021-4NEWYORKPLAZA.htm

Joel