L train project a ‘success story’ as future MTA projects are in jeopardy


WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — Major construction is complete on the Brooklyn side of the Canarsie Tunnel, which connects the L train back and forth to Manhattan.

The L train project was a massive underground undertaking that rebuilt the tunnel. That part of the work, which required weekend and overnight L train closures, wrapped up in April 2020.

Station improvements are visible at Bedford Avenue. It is now one of the system’s fully accessible stops with elevators from platforms to the street.

Only about 25% of the 472 stations are currently accessible. New York City Transit had been planning more projects, but the funding is uncertain due to the pandemic.

Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development, said the Canarsie Tunnel project is a success story, but many future plans are on hold.

“(It) is a model of using innovative technologies and construction methods to minimize impacts to service and the public. This out-of-the-box thinking is enabling MTA C&D to deliver projects better, faster and cheaper, even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lieber.

Future work is outlined in the $54 billion capital plan, including money for signals, new subway cars and buses and station accessibility.

Transit officials said those projects are in jeopardy without out action by the federal government on a second relief package.

In addition to new elevators opened in August, new station improvements at Bedford Avenue include:

  • New and rebuilt staircases at street level and from the platform to the mezzanine – doubled stair capacity at the Driggs Avenue end of the station
  • More efficient turnstile layouts and additional turnstiles
  • New ADA boarding area at platform and new tactile tiles on platform edge
  • New wall tiles in the Bedford Avenue and Driggs Avenue mezzanines
  • Reconstruction of N 7th Street roadway
  • Reconstruction of sidewalks between Bedford and Driggs avenues
  • New station emergency lighting
  • New closed-circuit television security system
  • New digital information screens
  • New Help Point intercom
  • Reconstruction of sidewalks between Bedford and Driggs avenues

Work will continue to construct power substations along the L train line to increase that line capacity.

Only projects that have been funded before the pandemic are still in process.

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