About 1,600 New York subway cars are being dumped off the New Jersey shore to serve as artificial reefs. The subway cars will provide homes for schools of fish, and allow divers to inspect a unique part of New York’s history in an underwater museum.
“They create a cave-like structure that let young hatchlings mature,” said Mike Zacchea, a self-described reef dean for New York City Transit who is also an assistant chief of operations. “Within 30 days, marine life attaches to the car body.”
The project costs $6.3 million, and saves the city $27 million more in fees they would pay to properly scrap the cars. Some of the cars have asbestos, so destroying them is costly.
Environmentalists are not convinced that the cars are safe for the underwater life, but the New Jersey environmental department evaluated the cars and said they provide a “durable habitat” and don’t pose any significant danger to the environment.
It’s an interesting way to reuse the subway cars, and to reduce the energy that would have been required to dispose of them in a landfill.
(click on the picture to see other pictures of underwater vehicles)