Attention riders: All L train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Manhattan beginning January 2019.
The MTA announced today that the Canarsie Tunnel which brings L train riders under the East River will be closed for 18 months to repair damage wrought by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.
In four community meetings this spring, the agency reviewed repair scenarios and solicited New Yorkers’ feedback on partial and full tunnel shutdown scenarios. The full closure option was chosen over a one-track-at-a-time three-year closure. Although residents in L-dependent neighborhoods had mixed feelings about the inevitable closure, all 11 Community Boards along the L were “overwhelmingly in favor” of a total shutdown.
Repairs will target damaged signals, switches, tracks, power cables, and other infrastructure that was corroded by salt water when seven miles of the tunnel flooded. Upgrades will be made to stations closest to the river, as well.
“Approximately 80 percent of riders will have the same disruptions with either option. Throughout our extensive outreach process and review, it became clear that the 18-month closure was the best construction option and offered the least amount of pain to customers for the shortest period of time,” NYCT president Veronique ‘Ronnie’ Hakim stated. “The 18-month option is also the most efficient way to allow MTA to do the required work. It gives us more control over the work site and allows us to offer contractor incentives to finish the work as fast as possible. We think it is better to have a shorter duration of pain than a longer more unstable process—and risk unplanned closures—by leaving one track open during construction.”
Although the MTA is formulating a transportation plan for the Brooklyn-Manhattan commute, perhaps it’s time to seriously consider some alternative options. Newtown Creek water shuttle, anyone?