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New York’s MTA announces $90-million plan to repair tunnels

New York’s Metro Transit Authority (MTA) said it will use aspects of Gov. Cuomo’s controversial L train tunnel repair plan to fix another East River crossing damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Transit officials announced plans to ink a $90 million contract to rehab the Rutgers Tube, which connects the F train between the Lower East Side in Manhattan to DUMBO in Brooklyn.

It’s one of nine East River subway crossings damaged by Sandy in 2012, and the last one to be repaired.

The New York Daily News reported that the MTA said the tunnel will be fixed by the end of next March — an aggressive timeline made possible by a strategy ironed out during the L train project.

Rather that replacing the bench walls, crews will repair them. And as with the L project, new cables will installed.

The original plan to replace the L train tunnel’s bench walls would have required service to close on the line between Manhattan and Brooklyn for at least 15 months. The cable-racking idea, announced by Cuomo in January 2019, four months before construction was set to begin, required a service shutdown on nights and weekends for 12 months.

Most of the F train work will also be performed on nights and weekends, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief development officer Janno Lieber.

Lieber said the bench walls in the F train tunnel are not damaged as badly as those in the L train tunnel, which will make the work easier.

Crews installed shells made out of fiber-reinforced polymer, or FRP, in damaged sections of the L train tunnel to keep the structure safe in case passengers are required to use it as an emergency walkway. Lieber said concrete adhesive patches will be used to shore up the F train’s bench walls.

“All we have to do is spot repairs,” said Lieber. “We don’t even need to install FRP in places. It’s an even simpler version of what you saw in [the L train tunnel].”

The MTA board on Wednesday will vote on the contract for the project. Transit officials have selected two companies that worked on the L train — TC Electric and J-Track.

The project also includes a rehabilitation of the East Broadway stop on the F line, which is scheduled to be finished by next Feb. 16.

The speedy timeline will allow the MTA to get to work on upgrading the outdated signal system that directs A, C and E trains beneath Eighth Ave. in Manhattan in 2021. Transit officials will need the F train tunnel to redirect A and C trains in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in order to close tracks for the upgrades.

“The L project demonstrated that the MTA can deliver major projects much faster and at less cost,” said Lieber. “We hope we’re starting to make believers out of some people.”


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