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L Train Slowdowns Begin Friday

Construction will begin tomorrow on the L train tunnel. (Flickr)

April 25, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan

The long-awaited L train shutdown-turned-slowdown will finally kick off tomorrow evening.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for the Canarsie Tunnel construction project will take effect at 10 p.m. Friday, with L train service going to and coming from Manhattan slowing down to intervals of 20 minutes.

The inter-borough subway line will continue to run at the lengthy intervals every weeknight from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. and all weekend long for the next 15 to 20 months.

The increased headways will allow construction workers to operate in one of the tunnel’s two passageways, while trains continue to run in the other. The workers will be constructing a new electric cable system, to be strung on racks on the walls of the tunnel, after the current system was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Straphangers have remained skeptical of the MTA’s mitigation plan for the slowdown, with the transit authority itself anticipating platform overcrowding. The MTA has warned riders that they may have to wait for more than one train to come through the station before they can board, and signs have been posted at L train stations encouraging riders to take the G or M lines during slowdown hours.

Alternative transportation options were severely cut back from what was initially planned for the full shutdown, with the MTA scrapping plans for new bus routes in Brooklyn, increased ferry service, increased subway service on several lines, and more cars on the G train.

A scaled-down version of the increased service plan has remained on the G and M lines, and the MTA recently announced that bus priority will be given on the 14th Street corridor.

Recent preparation work on the L line has already concerned riders as to what’s to come after finding unreasonable amounts of dust in the Bedford Avenue station following full weekend shutdowns. The MTA has assured riders that the dusty air is safe to breath, however riders have remained skeptical, comparing the situation to being told the air near ground zero was safe.

Despite the MTA saying that the new plan will cost less than the $429 million original shutdown plan, the transit authority has yet to release an official price tag.

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