‘Innovation Works’: L Train Tunnel Repairs Ahead Of Schedule, Cuomo Says

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 29, 2019 - 2:44 pm
Gov. Cuomo tours the Canarsie Tunnel

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the project to rehabilitate the L train tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn will be finished much sooner than expected.

Work has gone so well, the governor says, that repairs will be done in 12 months instead of 15 to 18 months. It's now expected to be finished in April.

The governor toured the Canarsie Tunnel on Sunday, taking a slow ride down a work train and a ladder down onto the track bed.

“This is a better tunnel than ever before,” he said. “It is just an extraordinary piece of work.”

Cuomo ticked off a list of innovations in the L train project, among them: placing cables along the walls instead of burying them in cement and using continuously welded rail, which allows for a faster ride. There’s also improved water pumping to avoid a repeat of Sandy, which flooded the tunnel in 2012.

“You now have access to the cables. Something goes wrong, you want to change the cables, you want to upgrade the cables, they’re right there,” he said. “You don’t have to break apart cement to get at them.”

It’s all evidence, Cuomo says, that the MTA should think outside the box more often. He said MTA pushback was strong when he first proposed the accelerated project. 

“News flash,” Cuomo said. “Innovation works, new technology works.”

“The technological innovations that were done in this tunnel are extraordinary,” he said.

Night and weekend riders have faced reduced service that has left them waiting for trains every 20 minutes.

However, the original plan to repair damage caused by Sandy called for a shutdown of the entire tunnel under the East River. In January, Cuomo called that off in favor of the current plan, which only requires work on nights and weekends.

The L line is one of the city's most crowded. There are about 400,000 rides daily, and more than half go through the tunnel.