Confirmed: No L Train for 18 Months

It’s official, there will be no L trains between Brooklyn and Manhattan for a year-and-a-half, starting January, 2019. The MTA presented two painful options for the necessary repair of the L train after Superstorm Sandy. After months and months of debating, a final decision has been reached. The chosen plan, has a bigger disruption, but will finish the job faster.

The closure of the L train will last 18 months. There will be no service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, but the L train will run along its current route through Brooklyn, but terminate at Bedford Avenue.

An estimate of 225,000 commuters take the L train between Brooklyn and Manhattan every day. The surveys conducted in May by the straphangers’ advocacy group Riders Alliance, showed that 77% of L train users preferred the 18-month closure, mostly because the three-year plan didn’t make that much of a difference in terms of disruption.

Veronique Hakim, president of New York City Transit, says “We think it is better to have a shorter duration of pain than a longer more unstable process – and risk unplanned closures – by leaving one track open during construction,” In addition, “Approximately 80 percent of riders will have the same disruptions with either option. Throughout our extensive outreach process and review, it became clear that the 18-month closure was the best construction option and offered the least amount of pain to customers for the shortest period of time.”



This project will be largely funded by Sandy relief funds from the federal government. Improvements to the closed stations in Manhattan will also happen during these 18 months. Here are other details regarding the repair:

  • Some of the repair work that the Canarsie Tunnel required was accomplished during night and weekend closures; as well as The Montague Tunnel under the East River, which shut down the R train for 13 months.
  • The Canarsie’s Tunnel bench walls must be replaced to protect the structural integrity of the two tubes that carry trains through the tunnel.
  • The MTA will also make improvements to stations and tunnel sections, like new elevators and electric substations, which provide power to operate additional trains during rush hours.


The MTA is figuring out ways to provide alternatives to commuters affected by the project. Some of these alternatives may include bus service over the Williamsburg bridge and expanded ferry service. Lawmakers are also suggesting the city to make 14the Street car-free during this period of time.

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