L train will no longer shutdown between Brooklyn, Manhattan: Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the L line at Brooklyn

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the L line at Brooklyn

Following his 90-minute visit to the Canarsie Tunnel, which connects the Lower East Side to Williamsburg, he met with engineering experts and toured the areas damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

The city had planned to close the tunnel, which runs between Brooklyn and Manhattan, for 15 months beginning in April to fix two tubes located beneath the East River.

People had dubbed it the "L-mageddon" for its expected impact on a quarter million riders a day. Because this method of tunnel fix has thus far been untested in the USA, the question of whether the MTA would be able to find skilled workers to implement the plan was raised.

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The old plan required crews to remove concrete tunnel walls to access and replace damaged electrical cables before rebuilding the walls - a labor- and time-intensive process.

"The governor's plan may or may not work", John Raskin, the alliance's director, said in a statement, "but you'll pardon transit riders for being skeptical that a last-minute Hail Mary idea cooked up over Christmas is better than what the MTA came up with over three years of extensive public input".

The work could be completed on nights and weekends only, with a single tube providing continued service in both directions during work periods.

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Under the new plan, workers will leave the bench wall and the cables inside it and wrap the wall in fiberglass. They came up with that design suggestion. "But the MTA has gone through their recommendations and gone through the new design, and the MTA believes that it is feasible".

And it may only take five more months than the 15 that transit leaders expected the so-called L-pocolypse to last, according to the acting chairman of the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board Fernando Ferrer, although Cuomo refused to promise the new approach would wrap in 20 months.

Following Cuomo's announcement, it was not immediately clear what alternative plan the MTA would choose. "I said, 'I will make sure that, personally, that there's nothing else that can be done, and this is the best option.' And I want to do that". "Even if we manage to limit service suspensions to one tube only on nights and weekends, that will still dramatically limit L train capacity in Manhattan at those times". 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.

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Plainly, the governor woke up Friday feeling stung by the skeptics who were daring to question the viability of his surprise L-train plan.

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