MTA to reduce L train shutdown by three months

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced at the end of last week that the L train tunnel will likely be closed for 15 months instead of the originally-proposed 18 for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs and the shutdown will begin in April 2019 instead of that January.

Transportation blog Second Ave. Subway first noticed the changes to the plan in the board’s materials last Friday and MTA spokesperson Beth DeFalco confirmed via Twitter that the timeline had changed.

The materials released last Friday note that the agency chose to award the contract for the project to joint venture Judlau Contracting Inc./TC Electric, LLC because of the work the contractors have done for the MTA on other Sandy-related projects, and could apply their previous experience from similar projects to lessen the impact on the community and, ideally, shorten both the full closure and the entire project duration.

Judlau/TC’s final proposal included a budget of $477 million, with an additional $15 million for incentives to finish the work in the 15-month period, bringing the total for the project to $492 million. The total project duration, which includes additional work on the tunnel during nights and weekends, is expected to be 43 months.

The board was scheduled to vote on the contract and additional funding earlier this afternoon but currently no further information is available on whether or not the plan was approved.

The MTA has been hosting workshops on the east and west sides to solicit ideas about how to mitigate the impact of the closure, with the most recent workshop for the east side held at Town & Village Synagogue earlier this month. Transit advocacy groups and local elected officials have been advocating for a partial or complete closure of 14th Street to private vehicle traffic while the work is being done, leaving the roadway open only to MTA buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

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