MTA board reviews new recommendations for L train tunnel

NEW YORK -- For nearly three hours in an emergency meeting, MTA Board members questioned and discussed the new plans for work on the tunnel that carries the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The board plans to bring on an independent evaluator who will report to board members. The project is now being overseen by MTA Capital Construction.

There was no vote or action planned at the meeting. Ultimately, board members are responsible for and vote on contract changes and major service plans.

New service schedules are still being worked out.

Originally, the L train service was going to be completely shutdown on April 27 between the Bedford Avenue stop in Brooklyn and into Manhattan.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appoints the majority of voting members to the board. Earlier in January, he and a panel of engineering experts from Columbia and Cornell Universities recommended a shutdown only on nights and weekends and adjustments to the work plan.

The new approach involves less demolition and removal of the interior tunnel structure and racking new wiring along the ceiling.

Some board members questioned the process and asked for more details on the specific work. The consultants, who also worked on the original plan, have signed off on the new approach.

They did not give an estimate for the life expectancy of the newly reinforced bench wall and wiring racks. The original project replaced the structures and experts have said replacement usually lasts longer.

Designers say the reinforced areas will last decades. Other areas that need to be replaced due to damage from Superstorm Sandy will be completely restored.

Supporters of the new plan say it means riders will not be inconvenienced during the weekday because trains will be running.

Although, other members wanted to know the impact of having to open and close sections during the weekend and overnight.

The regular transit committee and board meetings are being held next week.

"We are moving forward with the new plan and will be regularly briefing the Board, public officials and our customers," MTA Spokesperson Shams Tarek said. "The Board will be retaining an independent consultant to advise it on the project and review safety and environmental considerations."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.