Dec. 11, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan
With the L Train shutdown just four months away, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will personally visit the Canarsie Tunnel later this week to assess construction options.
In an interview yesterday on WNYC, Cuomo said he will take a tour of the tunnel with a team at midnight on Dec. 13, as part of a personal effort to ensure that every option to reduce commuter disruption is being exhausted.
“I can’t tell you the number of people in Brooklyn who have come up to me and looked me right in the eye and said ‘Are you sure that there is no way that you can possible shorten this?’ and I said I will make sure that personally there is nothing else that can be done and this is the best option,” Cuomo said during “The Brian Lehrer show.
The L Train shutdown plans have been years in the making after the Canarsie Tunnel, which transports 225,000 commuters under the East River each day, sustained substantial damage during Hurricane Sandy.
The current plan will see the tunnel close on April 27 for 15 months, with service continuing to run in Brooklyn. Mitigation plans, meanwhile, call for street changes and new traffic regulations to help ease the flow of displaced travelers.
Bus routes, additionally, will be added between Williamsburg and Manhattan’s Lower East Side as part of the shutdown, while some trains will see added capacity to accommodate an influx of L-displaced riders.
Despite Cuomo’s tour this week, he insisted on the radio show that the MTA’s shutdown plans for the line are still going ahead as-is in April, and that he doesn’t forsee any changes being made.
The governor, however, brought up recommendations he made for some aspects of LaGuardia Airport’s ongoing renovations, which he suggested led to a more efficient plan where airport operations and construction could continue simultaneously.
“I just want to make sure that I can say personally ‘Yes, the buck stops on my desk. Yes, this is a very big project and a disruptive project, and yes, I personally am confident that it cannot be done any other way and it cannot be done faster than the MTA is doing it,” he said.
The MTA and DOT, leading up to the April shutdown, have held several town halls and presented at many community board meetings on its shutdown and mitigation plans.
Prep work, additionally, has already started on the L line, leading to some recent service changes and station closures.