L train (courtesy of MTA)

Repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel on the L train subway line will be completed in spring 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last weekend in a press conference at the Bedford Avenue station.

Rendering of the renovated Bedford Avenue station (courtesy of MTA)

April 2020 is the new expected completion date, a full three months ahead of schedule. The project includes a full renovation of the Bedford Avenue station.

Cuomo took the opportunity to scorn the naysayers during the announcement, the NY Post reports:

“A lot of people, when we said we were going to do this, the whole bureaucracy pushed back,” he said. “They said you can’t do it. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. We always do it the way we always do it. Yeah! News flash! Innovation works, new technology works, finding faster better ways works, and it’s a lesson for the whole MTA. This should not be an exception, this should be the rule.Nothing is impossible in New York.”

A full 15-month shutdown of the L train was initially planned, but as the story goes, a much-fabled man approached the Governor in Brooklyn pulling his lapel while decrying the full shutdown. In-turn, a freshly inspired Cuomo enlist a team of engineering experts to find an alternate method.

The expert panel proposed encasing the tunnel’s deteriorated concrete bench wall in lieu of a complete structural rebuild, a method that is expected to last around 100 years, Curbed reports:


About a fourth of the tunnel’s bench walls have been wrapped, and have also been lined with fiberoptic cables that will detect any hazards and alert MTA officials. New substations will be added to ramp up electrical power on the train line to allow for the MTA to run L trains more frequently once service is fully restored. Workers have also rebuilt a pump room that will more efficiently drain water from the tunnel in case of flooding.

The partial L train shutdown caused a significant reduction in service on nights and weekends over the past year and allowed construction crews to complete work on the first tube in five months. Work on the second tube will take approximately seven months.


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