L train construction in Canarsie Tunnel on track so far, MTA says

The MTA board announced Monday that work on the L train's Canarsie Tunnel is progressing right on schedule.
The MTA board announced Monday that work on the L train’s Canarsie Tunnel is progressing right on schedule. Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC

The L train’s Canarsie tunnel rehab is moving along on schedule, MTA officials said Monday.

Janno Lieber, the MTA’s construction chief, said the first month of the rehabilitation work has moved along smoothly, with crews having so far completed roughly one-third of the tunnel demolition while successfully containing hazardous dust.

“In the tunnel … the work is going very much on time in every way,” said Lieber.

NYC Transit President Andy Byford, who is tasked with overseeing service around the reconstruction, said that despite some early challenges, L riders have been heeding advice to switch to alternative routes. Ridership on the nearby J and M lines have increased by about 50 percent, with L ridership down by a similar percentage, according to Byford.

“So far, so good. Things have been progressing relatively smoothly over the past few weeks. As we anticipated, at times, things have got busy, but people have been remarkably flexible,” Byford said at a board meeting Monday. “I think it’s a testament to New Yorkers have coped with the change.”

There have been some challenges at Union Square, where barricades are in place to monitor crowds and where “on occasions” the MTA has had to turn L riders away from too-packed trains between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Byford said the authority is keeping its alternative service plan in place, with the M14 busway along 14th Street slated to come next month. The MTA is working to improve rider announcements in trains and on platforms.

“This has been a real success story so far and we aim to keep it that way,” Byford said.