For L train riders dreading the looming shutdown, there is a bit of good news. Just a bit.
The MTA announced it will reduce the amount of time needed to close the Canarsie Tunnel for repairs, from 18 months to 15 months. The announcement was made Friday, with the MTA saying it will seek board approval next week to accelerate the rehabilitation as part of a contract incentive.
The agency will begin repairs in April 2019, and with the 15-month schedule, would reopen in July 2020.
Roughly 225,000 L train commuters a day travel through the tunnel under the East River.
MTA officials said the work is desperately needed to repair water damage from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the city in late October 2012. The work will also improve two stations, and build a substation that will allow more trains to run on the L line, increasing capacity, officials said.
The $477 million contract for the repair work went to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric, and now includes another $15 million in incentives to complete the tunnel project in 15 months.
MTA Interim executive director Ronnie Hakim said in a statement that the damage from Sandy "requires a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of riders for generations to come." He continued, adding, “At the same time, we promised to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this vital work on l line riders, and today, we’ve done just that, by shortening the tunnel closure from 18 months to 15 months.”