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  • Based on the needs of the system and the impact to our customers, we decided that the best way to accomplish this critical work is to close both tubes in the tunnel beginning no sooner than 2019. In March of this year, we were pleased to announce that the closure period has been shortened from 18 to 15 months, due to contractual provisions included to expedite demolition, encourage acceleration of the tunnel work, deter delays, enable traffic mitigation work, and the testing and commissioning of systems. The tunnel is now scheduled to close for these repairs in April 2019.

    What is the extent and nature of the damage from Superstorm Sandy?

    The Canarsie Tunnel was flooded with seven million gallons of salt water, damaging all electrical and communication equipment, including circuit breakers, lighting and power cables, fire protection equipment, emergency alarms, phone systems and fiber optic cables.  While the Canarsie Tube is safe, the work must get done to avoid future, unplanned service disruptions.

    Are the tunnels dangerous?

    The tunnels are safe.  While the MTA has been making temporary repairs and conducting frequent inspections, the condition of the tunnel components and systems require their rehabilitation or replacement as soon as possible.

    How will MTA ensure that the reconstruction work will be completed on time?

    MTA will use contracting procedures that are based on strict milestone deadlines with monetary incentives and penalties to ensure that work stays on schedule. Additionally, contractors will be required to implement best practices learned from the recent rehabilitation of the Montague R subway and Greenpoint G subway tunnels

    When will closures begin?

    The complete tunnel closure will not happen until 2019.  However, prep work, requiring night and weekend closures, will begin before that.

    When will preliminary construction start?

    The project is scheduled for construction award in the first quarter of 2017.  Utility relocation and construction at the 1 Av and Bedford Av Stations will start in 2nd quarter of 2017. 

    Why does the tunnel have to be closed for 15 months?

    The work required for the reconstruction is complex. Based on our experience completing repairs on the Montague R subway and Greenpoint G subway tunnels after Sandy, we learned how long it takes to perform similar work safely.

    What improvements are proposed for Bedford Av and 1 Av Stations?

    Improvements at Bedford Av and 1 Av stations will provide ADA accessibility and increase the number of entrance/egress points to improve passenger circulation within these two very busy stations. New stairs and elevators will be constructed at Avenue A to provide access to each platform of the 1 Av Station. Additional street stairs, ADA elevators and an expanded mezzanine will be constructed at Bedford Avenue. The Driggs Avenue mezzanine at the Bedford Av Station will be reconfigured to add two street stairs and one platform stair.  Additionally, as part of this project, the MTA will be building three additional power substations that will enable us to increase peak train frequency.

    What will service look like during the closure? What things will MTA add to help minimize impacts?

    We are in the process of fully developing an alternative service plan but will have specific details long before the closure happens.

    In terms of subway service, additional M subway / J subway / G subway trains will operate and G subway subway trains will be doubled in length. The J subway subway and Z subway subway will operate local between Myrtle and Marcy Avs, significantly increasing service to Hewes St, Lorimer St and Flushing Av. A free out-of-system transfer will be provided between Broadway G subway subway and Lorimer St J subway / M subway / Z subway and between Liviona L subway and Junius 3 subway stations. Other options to add and enhance service are also being explored.

    A range of additional bus and ferry services are being developed along different portions of the corridor. We plan to work closely with the City and State to develop routes and determine service levels needed to accommodate projected ridership.

    What are the service details of the full tunnel closure?

    The full tunnel closure is scheduled for 15 months.  There will be no L subway subway line service in Manhattan or between Manhattan and Bedford Av in Brooklyn.  However, ferry and bus service will be added between Manhattan and Brooklyn.  In Brooklyn, L subway trains would continue to run between Rockaway Parkway and Bedford Avenue but at a reduced frequency. 

    What additional subway service will be provided during the tunnel’s reconstruction?

    Additional M subway / J subway / G subway trains will operate.  G subway trains will be extended in length. The J subwayand Z subway will operate local between Myrtle and Marcy Avs, significantly increasing service to Hewes St, Lorimer St and Flushing Av.  A free out-of-system transfer will be provided between Broadway G subway and Lorimer St J subway / M subway / Z subway and between Liviona L subway and Junius 3 subway stations.  Other options to add and enhance service are also being explored.

    Why does L subway train service have to be shut down in Manhattan?

    Running a shuttle train in Manhattan is not feasible because the L subway subway line in Manhattan does not share tracks with or connect with any other subway lines, meaning that train cars used for a Manhattan-only shuttle would have no access to inspection and maintenance facilities. Therefore, it is impossible to conduct mandatory train inspections and repairs.

    Will the L subway run in Brooklyn during construction?

    Yes, the L subway will continue to run in Brooklyn throughout the project between Rockaway Parkway and Bedford Av, and customers will be able to transfer to other lines.

    Will closed entrances be re-opened on the J subwayM subwayZ subway lines?

    The MTA is looking into the feasibility of re-opening closed entrances in stations that will likely need more capacity during the tunnel reconstruction period.

    Will tail tracks be added to the 8 Av Station?

    The existing L subway line terminal at 8 Av, which allows for a maximum of 28 trains per hour, is currently not, nor is it projected to be, the capacity constraint on L subway line frequency.  Long term ridership forecasts do not show the need for frequency of service beyond what the terminal can already accommodate.  Extending the tail tracks, which are tracks just beyond the end lines that can be used for storing and turning around trains, would allow trains to enter the station at higher speeds, but the large cost of constructing such a project would not justify the relatively minor gains in passenger travel time.

    Will bicycle parking be provided around the construction zones?

    Existing bicycle parking near affected stations will be maintained in place or relocated during the duration of construction. The New York City Department of Transportation is also exploring locations for additional bicycle parking facilities and expansions of Citi Bike docking stations within and around affected neighborhoods.

    What are the anticipated construction work hours?

    Construction working hours will follow all New York City work regulations. Work is anticipated to occur within the tunnels in a manner that will have no impact to residents or businesses surrounding the work zones.

    How will this project affect local businesses? Will business hours be affected?

    The MTA will work with the communities affected to ensure that impacts to businesses adjacent to work zones are minimized to the highest degree possible. Access to all businesses and residences will be maintained at all times.

    How did the MTA decide how to proceed with the Canarsie Tunnel Reconstruction?

    The MTA conducted a robust public outreach process to engage with and obtain input from all of our stakeholders, including customers, elected officials, business owners and contractors. We came to a decision based on the feedback we received along with our own analysis of impacts, and the needs of the system and our customers.

    How will the MTA ensure this does not happen again?

    The MTA is doing multiple things to protect the system. For example, water tight doors have been installed on all circuit breakers and signal rooms located in the Montague R subway tubes, and are being installed at street entrances and critical rooms at the South Ferry Station. Customized floodgates and barriers have also been designed and will be mobilized so they can be placed over station stairs, sidewalk grates and various equipment hatches and manholes. There are also about 50 street level points within the flood zone along the Canarsie Tunnel.  We are installing mechanical closure devices to prevent water from entering the tunnel through ventilation gratings. Additional resiliency efforts include the installation of watertight hatches, watertight manhole covers, deployable ventilation covers, and watertight doors. Pump controls will be relocated to higher levels, and the North 7th fan plant street-level opening will be hardened to prevent water from entering the tunnel.


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