Governor calls off deliberate shutdown of NYC subway line

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NEW YORK (AP) — Almost 1 / 4 million New Yorkers who for years dreaded “L-mageddon,” a deliberate 15-month shutdown of a key subway tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn, obtained a last-minute reprieve from the governor Thursday with a brand new plan that can enable repairs to go on at nights and weekends and the trains to maintain operating.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the shock announcement simply weeks after convening a panel of prime engineering consultants to take one other have a look at the L practice tunnel beneath the East River to see if there was a method to repair flood harm from 2012’s Superstorm Sandy with out doing as a lot demolition and disrupting so many lives. Seems, there was.

“This was an outside-the-box, artistic resolution,” mentioned Cuomo, a Democrat, at a information convention asserting the brand new plan. He was flanked by engineering consultants from Columbia and Cornell universities who dreamed up the proposal.

“You must be prepared to suppose exterior the field or break the field.”

The announcement got here after years of planning for the upheaval anticipated to be attributable to the tunnel’s closure, which was imagined to occur in April.

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Brooklynites had already begun rearranging their lives for the anticipated “L-pocalypse,” with some altering jobs or flats to keep away from the looming commuting snarls.

The unique plan, adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after prolonged public debate, had known as for a whole shutdown of a portion of the L line for 15 months whereas employees repaired harm from Sandy, when salty, corrosive water flooded 7 miles (11 kilometers) of the tube.

The plan known as for changing previous electrical gear by eradicating a broken concrete benchwall that traces the tunnel and encases energy cables. The cables would then have been changed and the wall rebuilt, in a labor-intensive course of.

The brand new plan requires putting in cables on racks alongside the within of the tunnels, and leaving the previous cables the place they’re. The previous concrete benchwall would keep too, encased in a protecting fiber bolstered polymer, the place crucial, or patched.

Not having to take out and change the previous wall cuts down on value and time, officers mentioned. And the brand new plan may very well be achieved with evening and weekend work as an alternative of a shutdown.

Those that would have been hardest hit have been overjoyed with the information.

“I believe we averted a catastrophe,” mentioned Robert Stone, 69, who was using an L practice to his dwelling close to the Third Avenue cease in Manhattan. “This line is full, it’s some of the on-time traces of all of the subways and I consider that is the correct resolution, to not shut it down. I believe it’s a fantastic factor.”

Shanice Brown, who manages the Goorin Bros. hat retailer in Williamsburg that will depend on the L practice to usher in prospects and staff, mentioned the change in plans is a giant reduction. Brown mentioned she had been apprehensive about what the shutdown would imply for enterprise, and whether or not the options the MTA had proposed when it comes to buses, ferries and different subway traces would have labored.

“It didn’t really feel very safe in any respect,” she mentioned. “It was going to be very trial-and-error.”

Some are questioning, nonetheless, if the brand new plan is really the best choice.

“The governor’s plan could or could not work, however you’ll pardon transit riders for being skeptical {that a} last-minute Hail Mary thought cooked up over Christmas is healthier than what the MTA got here up with over three years of intensive public enter,” mentioned John Raskin, govt director of the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group. “We’d like a full public launch of the small print of Governor Cuomo’s thought, in addition to the mitigation plans that can enable lots of of 1000’s of L practice riders to get round throughout the inevitable shutdowns and slowdowns in service.”

The L line is without doubt one of the metropolis’s most crowded, operating via neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick which have turn into main attracts for younger individuals and the companies that cater to them, like eating places and bars. Since 1990, ridership has vastly elevated, with about 400,000 rides on a mean day. Of these, greater than half undergo the tunnel.

The company might have gone with a three-year partial shutdown, however the MTA determined in mid-2016 that it might be higher to shut the Canarsie Tube fully beginning within the spring of 2019. That known as for L practice service at 5 stops in Manhattan to be halted, in addition to trains via the tunnel. The road would proceed to function between Brooklyn neighborhoods.

MTA Performing Chairman Fernando Ferrer known as the brand new plan “an modern and extra environment friendly method” and mentioned the company, which operates within the metropolis and its suburbs however is managed by the governor, would undertake it in full.

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Related Press author Karen Matthews contributed to this report.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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