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L Train Between Manhattan and Brooklyn Could Shut Down for Years, MTA Says

By Noah Hurowitz | January 13, 2016 4:32pm
 L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn could shut down for as long as three years, according to a report by Gothamist.
L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn could shut down for as long as three years, according to a report by Gothamist.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

NEW YORK CITY — L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn could be seriously disrupted, even entirely shut down, for several years to allow for repair work to tunnels damaged during Hurricane Sandy, according to a news report that was confirmed by the MTA.

In order to repair the L Train’s Canarsie Tubes the MTA is considering shutting them down for the duration of the repairs — estimated to take about three years — agency sources told Gothamist.

The Manhattan-bound and Brooklyn-bound trains run through separate tunnels, so the agency is also considering keeping one tunnel open as they work on the other, according to Gothamist.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed that the agency is looking at multiple ways to complete the required work but refused to address the specifics of a possible L train shutdown between the boroughs.

“We are weighing several options at this point,” Ortiz said

If the tunnels shut down completely Manhattan-bound L trains would terminate at Bedford Avenue, agency sources told Gothamist.

With 27,224 daily riders in 2014, the Bedford Avenue stop is already the busiest stop on the line, according to MTA statistics. On the other side of the river, the already overcrowded First Avenue L station, the last stop in Manhattan before Brooklyn, has more than 24,000 daily riders.

The MTA has shut down train service between boroughs for lengthy periods before. In 2013, R train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan was suspended for 13 months to make way for repair work to the Montague Tube, which also suffered extensive damage from flooding. 

That project cost $250 million to complete, which was $50 million under the estimated budget. But the R train had just 65,000 daily riders when Hurricane Sandy struck, compared to the 300,000 straphangers who brave the L train each day, according to 2014 figures.