Local residents will get to weigh in on the planned shutdown of the L Train over the course of several public meetings that will begin next month. It's unlikely that the shutdown of the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan will take place anytime before 2019, but the Metropolitan Transit Authority now wants the community's input on how best to move forward.
"The heavy damage sustained by the Canarsie Tunnel during Superstorm Sandy requires that we undertake a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of our riders for generations to come," Thomas Prendergast, the chairman of the MTA, said in a press release.
The Canarsie Tunnel experienced extensive damage when Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012 including "damage to tracks, signals, switches, power cables, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, cable ducts and bench walls throughout a 7,100-foot-long flooded section of both tubes."
As part of the repair work, the agency will also spruce up two of the stations located closest to the East River, namely the Bedford Avenue and First Avenue stops. The agency will add new stairs and elevators at those stops, as well as three electric substations that will allow more trains to operate during rush hour.
The repairs are inevitable at this point, and options could vary anywhere from shutting down service completely between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months to a slow repair process that takes place over several years with reduced service and one section of the tunnel being closed at a time.
Most recently it was revealed that an L Train shutdown could lead to the closure of that line in Manhattan completely for the duration of the repairs since trains on the Manhattan side won't have access to a rail yard.
Nine underwater tunnels sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy. Repair work continues over nights and weekends, but train lines that have experienced prolonged shutdowns so far include the R Train's Montague Tunnel that shut for over a year, and the G Train tunnel under Newtown Creek that shut for two months.
The first public meeting will be held May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Marcy Avenue Armory at 355 Marcy Avenue, in Brooklyn.