Jan. 28, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
Preparations for the upcoming L train reconstruction project will cause weeknight shutdowns of the majority of the line for the next two months starting this week.
Beginning Jan. 28 until March 18, L trains will not run between Broadway Junction in Brooklyn and 8th Avenue in Manhattan from 10:45 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning on weeknights.
The service disruptions include all six upcoming weekends, which will see no trains between the two Manhattan and Brooklyn points from 10:45 p.m. on Fridays until 5 a.m. on Mondays.
Trains, however, will continue to operate between Broadway Junction and Canarsie Rockaway Pkwy.
The onslaught of service changes come as the MTA prepares to start work on the revised L train project, which will allow for 24/7 L service but with reduced service on overnights and weekends beginning in the spring.
The pre-work until March, according to the MTA, will allow construction workers to replace all 16,000 feet of rail in the Canarsie tunnel, relocate and replace cables among other projects, ultimately meant to give riders a more reliable and comfortable trip.
In response to the service changes, the MTA will be running two free shuttle bus routes on weeknights: one between Broadway Junction and Lorimer Street, connecting with the Marcy Avenue J train, and another on a loop between the Marcy Avenue J train station, Hewes Street J train station, Broadway G train station, Metropolitan G train station and Bedford Avenue.
On weekends during the service disruptions, three shuttle bus routes will be in place making stops at all L stations between Bedford Av and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs. One shuttle will run between the A, C and J Broadway Junction station to the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs M stop, while another goes from the latter to Lorimer St stop on the G line. Another route will form a loop stopping at the Marcy Av J and M station, the Broadway and Lorimer Street G stations, and Bedford Av.
There have now been four planned disruptions to L train service this month alone. At the beginning of January, service was reduced towards 8th avenue to allow for an inspection of the tunnel.
From Jan. 15 to 18, trains ran every 20 minutes between midnight and 5 a.m. for further inspections in preparation for the reconstruction project.
The work also comes after weeks of confusion surrounding the L train reconstruction plan and whether an MTA board vote is required for the project to go forward.
The MTA, however, appears to be moving forward with Cuomo’s plan, based on a statement sent out two weeks ago, where the agency said it is working with various contractors on a new final construction schedule.
The new construction plan will avoid the originally proposed 15-month full shutdown of service between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue.
The plan now calls for nighttime and weekend closure of one of the two tubes of the underwater Canarsie Tunnel, which will allow for continuous service between the boroughs. The switches at the Bedford station are what will allow trains to shift from one tunnel to the other, necessitating the upcoming switch maintenance work.
To the dismay of many commuters, however, trains are anticipated to only run every 20 minutes during these night and weekend closures, which are expected to be in place for about 15 to 20 months—the same time frame as the prior plan.
According to a report for Gothamist last week, the MTA had previously noted that unprecedented overcrowding would become the norm on L train during these times, with wait times to board trains exceeding 40 minutes.
An MTA spokesperson, however, told the news site that those wait times were calculated without alternate service enhancements in place, which the revised plan also includes.
While the prior plan called for mitigation efforts including expanded train service on alternative lines, new bus routes and an increased number of Citi Bikes, it is not yet clear which of the plans will stay in place for the new L train project.
For more information, visit the MTA’s L train project page.