SURPRISE: Cuomo Cancels Dreaded L Train Shutdown

The New York Post reports:

‘L’ of a plot twist! Less than a month after deeming the 15-month total shutdown of the L-train tunnel linking Manhattan and Brooklyn “vital,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday backpedaled at the 11th hour and announced a piecemeal approach that will allow the line to still run 24/7.

Rather than the long-anticipated complete year-plus closure of the tunnel — which was expected to plunge cross-borough commutes into chaos starting April 27 — Cuomo backed a longer-term overhaul that would close one of the tunnel’s two tubes at a time on nights and weekends, leaving the line fully operational during weekdays.

The New York Times reports:

The L train shutdown was scheduled to begin April 27 and last 15 months, crippling a key piece of the city’s transportation network. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, had said the closing was necessary to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when the tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn was inundated by floodwaters.

Under a new plan unveiled by Mr. Cuomo workers would use a different design to repair the tunnel and some work could be done on nights and weekends. He said not fully closing the L train would be a “phenomenal benefit to the people of New York City.’’

NBC New York reports:

The announcement comes two weeks after Cuomo took a personal midnight tour of the L train tunnel Thursday ahead of the big repair project.

Following his 90-minute visit to the Canarsie Tunnel, which connects the Lower East Side to Williamsburg, he met with engineering experts and toured the areas damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Seven million gallons of saltwater inundated the tube during Sandy, and the damage was never fixed. Cuomo concluded, at that time, that the project could not be changed, and the tunnel would have to be shut down for the planned 15 months.