Yes, the MTA Might Close L Train Tunnel for Years — But Wait, There’s Hope

Photo by Mary Hautman


Don’t freak out yet. You may have heard that the MTA is considering closing the L Train tunnel — aka the Canarsie Tube — for a couple of years while it completes much-needed repairs.

But not all hope is lost. Read on for details.

Why does the tunnel need to be fixed?

Two words: Hurricane Sandy. The tunnel got flooded with salt water — which corrodes concrete walls and tracks. There’s no imminent danger but, like a vicious infection, it’s definitely something that needs to get nipped in the bud before it leads to worse things.

Needed repairs include replacing power and communication lines, reconstructing concrete ducts, and replacing damaged rails. The MTA estimates the fixes will take about 40 months.

Does the MTA really need to close the tunnel to fix this?

Nope! Another option is for the MTA to keep just one of the two L Train tunnels running — with limited service — while the other is being repaired. No, it’s not a bright prospect for the teaming hordes of L-train riders. But it’s better than nothing.

However, the MTA has good reason to at least consider closing the tunnel all together: If it does so, the repairs will be dramatically cheaper and take just half as long to complete.

Is that solution likely? We think not. Pissing off the 300,000 people who rely on the L train every day to get to Manhattan and back is not something the MTA is eager to do.

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said that shutting down the Canarsie Tube entirely “is one of several options that we’re considering,” according to Gothamist.

L Train Service

Photo by Mary Hautman

How will we get from Bushwick to Chelsea?

In either case, the MTA plans on beefing up alternative ways for L train riders to get to and from Manhattan, including creating express bus lanes on bridges and having a fleet of shuttles ferrying riders to the M and J trains — which will have increased service, according to Gothamist.

The tunnel work won’t begin until the end of 2017, so you still have time to find a new pad off another train line. Or even try to find a new job east of the East River — Bushwick’s getting a trove of new creative office space.

Do you live off the L? How do you get to Manhattan if the L tunnel is closed?

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