The MTA announced Monday that the L train repair project may be shorter than expected.
After the L's total shutdown for tunnel repairs was canceled by Governor Cuomo earlier this year in favor of a reduced schedule, the MTA said work would last 15 to 20 months. Now the agency is estimating repairs will take 15 to 18 months, "with confidence it’ll be closer to the 15-month mark and will be done in the summer or 2020," WNBC reported.
The project is slated to begin on Apr. 27. The L will run on a reduced schedule during nights and weekends but normally on weekdays.
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That's a far cry from the much-dreaded total shutdown, originally scheduled to begin this month, to repair damage to the Canarsie Tunnel caused by Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters.
But in January, Cuomo stepped in. After consulting with engineers from Columbia and Cornell universities, he announced a European repair technique could be used instead. It would require only one of the L train's two tunnels to be shut down, and only part-time.
But the new plan has stoked controversy of its own. Subway workers have expressed concerns about air quality during the repair work, calling on Cuomo to postpone work until an independent third party can verify the conditions will be safe.
In the meantime, some overnight L train service will be suspended on weeknights from Apr. 15 to Apr. 26. Trains will not run between Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn and Lorimer Street in Manhattan between 10:30pm and 5am. The shutdown is necessary so crews can upgrade signals for the overall repair project.
Riders needing to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn can take the A, F or J trains. Manhattan crosstown service will be available on the M14 bus. In Brooklyn, the MTA will operate a free shuttle bus that will loop between the Lorimer Street, Bedford Avenue, Marcy Avenue and Hewes Street L stations.