New York begins a one-year countdown to the closure of important subway line

A tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, for which more than a quarter of a million people travel daily, will be closed for a year and a half to repair a subway sector that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Residents and traders in New York City have one more year of peace before one of the most feared and necessary infrastructure projects in the city begins: the closure of Subway Line L, which will complicate transportation of more than a quarter of a million people who daily use this route that runs between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The closure, according to authorities, is necessary to repair an East River tunnel – which separates Manhattan from Brooklyn – damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Then the salt water penetrated the centenary Canarsie tunnel and oxidized the cables, the tracks and damaged the electrical equipment.

Authorities made emergency repairs, but the tunnel needs a permanent restoration and the line will close for a year and a half , although the part that runs over Brooklyn, between Bedford Avenue and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway, will continue to operate.

This was the option chosen by New Yorkers, who were asked in a survey in 2016 which of two options they preferred to repair the line: A minor closure for three years or a longer one during a year and a half.

The overwhelming majority chose the second option and since then the authorities plan how to move the 225,000 passengers who daily use the L Line between Brooklyn and Manhattan and the 50,000 who use it only in Manhattan.

Among the measures that transport authorities will take to move passengers between Brooklyn and Manhattan is to limit transit through the Williamsburg Bridge to buses, trucks and vehicles with more than three passengers on board .

At this rate, it is expected that 70 buses will cross the bridge every hour to the narrow streets of Chinatown and SoHo in Manhattan and that 14th Street will become the busiest bus route in the country.

Authorities expect traffic to increase by 70 percent in some areas of New York City during the closure.

Pathways will also be built for about 5,000 cyclists to move through lower Manhattan and a new ferry route will be added over the East River, between North Williamsburg and Stuyvesant Cove.

The voices against the project have also been felt and according to The New York Times this week a group of residents of Lower Manhattan sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the city in a federal court alleging that the authorities did not an environmental impact analysis before developing their plans for alternatives to the closure of the line.

They also argue that the MTA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not including new elevators in its tunnel reconstruction plans and asking that the closure of Line L be halted.


Brian Schell is the lead editor for New York Daily Gazette. Brian has written for many publications including the New York Post Vanity Fair and TODAY. Brian is based in New York city and covers issues affecting local communities. In addition to following the day-to-day life of the Big Apple, Brian also has a passion running and can often be found jogging in Central Park

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