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L Train Tunnel Repair Cost Jumps by $16M as MTA Runs Late on Contractor

By Gwynne Hogan | January 23, 2017 3:54pm
 The MTA was supposed to award contract for repairs in December, but won't until March, the agency said.
The MTA was supposed to award contract for repairs in December, but won't until March, the agency said.
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DNAinfo/Michael Ip

WILLIAMSBURG — The cost of the MTA's L train tunnel repair project has ballooned to $16 million more than earlier estimates as the transit agency runs three months behind its planned timeline to pick a contractor for the job, records show.

The agency was supposed to have picked a contractor for repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn along the L line, by the end of 2016. But in January board documents released online said the MTA wouldn't finish the selection process until March.

The MTA also increased the estimated cost for the massive repair job, which will shut down service between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months, to $899.6 million from $883.3 million because of an updated assessment from an engineer, according to the documents.

The agency was behind in selecting a contractor because of "a protracted procurement process," the documents read.

An MTA spokesman didn't respond immediately to a request for further comment.

Despite the three-month setback, the MTA still expected actual construction work on the tunnel to start at the beginning of 2019 as originally planned, the documents said.

In the next few months while working to select a contractor, the agency said it would also try to finalize alternate service plans with the city's Department of Transportation and do outreach to communities along the L line.

Last week, the MTA announced four community workshops aimed to solicit feedback from riders about how they'd prefer to get to and from Manhattan when the L is out of service.

Those workshops are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, at the Town and Village Synagogue (334 East 14th St.), Feb. 16 at the The Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design (257 North 6th St.), Feb. 23 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (328 West 14th St.) and March 2 at Progress High School (850 Grand St.).

Because of extensive flooding during Hurricane Sandy, the MTA needs to completely shut down the Canarsie Tunnel for repair work to both sides of the tunnel.

For 18 months, starting at the beginning of 2019, service between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue will be suspended entirely.

L trains will continue running in Brooklyn between Canarsie and Bedford avenues during that time.

For more information about the community workshops visit the MTA's website.