The MTA announced last week that it is aiming to finish the work on the damaged Canarsie Tunnel under the East River in just 15 months, three months earlier than planned. Officials will seek the board’s approval to award an expedited contract this week.
“The heavy damage sustained by the Canarsie Tunnel during Superstorm Sandy requires a full reconstruction in order to ensure the integrity of the tunnel and the safety of riders for generations to come,” said MTA interim executive director Ronnie Hakim.
The $466 million contract, which will be awarded to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric, will add $15 million in incentives to finish the project in 15 months. The work includes repairing the tunnel, improving two stations, and building a substation that will allow more trains to run on the L line.
During the project, workers will demolish and reconstruct duct banks, track and track bed, and concrete lining. The plan also calls for installing tunnel lighting and fire systems to protect the tube against future storms.
Before the tunnel shuts down, the MTA will renovate the stations at First Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. The work will improve the station’s accessibility and circulation by adding four ADA-compliant elevators.
The MTA will also construct a new Avenue B substation and improve existing signals to allow more trains to run on the line in the future.
“At the same time, we promised to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this vital work on L line riders,” Hakim said. “Today, we’ve done just that by shortening the tunnel closure from 18 months to 15 months.”
The 7,100-foot-long portion of the Canarsie Tunnel was damaged by salt water from Superstorm Sandy. After months of public meetings, the MTA opted to shut down service completely between Brooklyn and Manhattan to make the appropriate fixes.
The L train closure is set to begin in April 2019. L trains will still run in Brooklyn between Williamsburg and Canarsie.
Elected officials applauded the MTA’s shortened timeline.
“Their actions in expediting the L Train closure speaks volumes to this line’s importance to the Brooklyn and Manhattan communities,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “While Hurricane Sandy created many problems across NYC, this line’s operation is critical to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers’ lives.
“From businesses to straphangers, the L train is the lifeline for many,” he added. “Completing this project as quickly as possible is essential to New Yorkers.”