It’s been well over four years since Hurricane Sandy washed ashore in New York City and we’re still dealing with its aftermath. Still, there is some good news — relatively speaking. Next month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board is expected to approve a new contract that will shorten the amount of time without L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The agency made the announcement on Friday.
Sandy flooded the Canarsie Tunnel, which the L train travels through under the East River between the two boroughs. It is in dire need of repair. The MTA had two options: a three-year partial shutdown of service between boroughs or 18 months with no service at all west of Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. In 2016, the MTA decided on the 18-month total shutdown option. That decision came following a series of meetings where the public expressed its support for that option.
Now, the MTA is looking to add $15 million in incentives for a joint venture consisting of Judlau Contracting Inc. and TC Electric, to complete the work in less time. Work is slated to begin in April 2019. In the meantime, the MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation are devising a plan to provide other transportation options to the line’s riders. There would be no subway service along 14th Street because the trains would have no way to access a maintenance yard, if the need arose.
“The heavy damage sustained by the Canarsie Tunnel during Superstorm Sandy requires a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of riders for generations to come,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “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.”
Work will include the complete rehabilitation of the Canarsie Tunnel, including protection from future events, plus new stairways, elevators, and other work at both the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations. There will also be a new power substation at Avenue B, which will allow for increased capacity on the L when full service resumes.
In addition, the project will demolish and reconstruct approximately 60,000 linear feet of duct banks, 14,400 linear feet of track and track bed, and 270,000 linear feet of cable ducts and associated cables. It will also include the repair of 7,000 linear feet of concrete lining and the installation of tunnel lighting and fire systems.