L Trains' Shutdown Averted in NYC

L Trains' Shutdown Averted in NYC

The new plan no longer requires the two Brooklyn-Manhattan tunnels inside the line's superstorm Sandy-ravaged Canarsie Tube to close for the duration of the job.

The announcement came after years of planning for the upheaval expected to be caused by the tunnel's closure, which was supposed to happen in April. The plan has been presented to and reviewed by the MTA, and it has been confirmed that the report's goals are achievable within a 15-20 month timeframe.

The plan called for replacing old electrical equipment by removing a damaged concrete benchwall that lines the tunnel and encases power cables.

Under a new plan unveiled by Mr. Cuomo workers would use a different design to fix the tunnel and some work could be done on nights and weekends.

Rather than the long-anticipated complete year-plus closure of the tunnel - which was expected to plunge cross-borough commutes into chaos starting April 27 - Cuomo backed a longer-term overhaul that would close one of the tunnel's two tubes at a time on nights and weekends, leaving the line fully operational during weekdays. The agency also considered shutting down one track at a time on nights and weekends for a few years, but transportation planners ultimately felt that it would be too long, costly and potentially unsafe for workers in the narrow tunnel.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking Friday on WNYC radio, praised Cuomo for seeking an "innovative approach", but called it "a little strange" that a new plan emerged just months before the shutdown was scheduled to begin. Unstable portions will be repaired, and the rest will remain as is.

"We appreciate the dedication and the analysis provided by this group of experts", said Acting MTA Chair Fernando Ferrer. However, after the press conference, MTA board member Veronica Vanterpool told amNY reporter Vincent Barone that the MTA board had not yet been briefed on the plan, and she questioned whether it was truly a long-term fix.

"This was an outside-the-box, creative solution", said Cuomo, a Democrat, at a news conference announcing the new plan.

"So, if there is a plan that can be better for the people of our neighborhoods, that's great, but I want to reserve any further judgment until I hear more", he said. The MTA and other government agencies, like the Department of Transportation, had been working on a plan for the L line's 250,000 daily riders to use buses and other subway lines during the closure.

The MTA has committed to four public meetings on the new plan in Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to a release from Brewer's office.

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