The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday will hold an emergency public meeting for its board to review Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s L train reconstruction proposal. Earlier this month, the governor unexpectedly presented a new plan to fix the Carnasie Tunnel that would not require it to close for 15 months and halt L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn, but instead be repaired on nights and weekends. The MTA board is expected to question the agency on the feasibility of the new plan, which was announced by Cuomo just three months before the shutdown was set to begin in April.
Consulting firm WSP will present the new proposal to the board and recommend members approve it, the MTA announced in a press release. “WSP has studied the proposed design alternatives and the preliminary new construction schedule developed by the construction manager,” the press release from the MTA reads. “WSP will be recommending to the Board that it pursue the modified plan as a better alternative, as it does not require a total shutdown of L train service.”
As 6sqft reported, the new plan would not require a complete replacement of the tunnel’s bench walls, which has cables inside of them, but instead, requires a new racking system that suspends cables on one side of the tunnel, leaving the other side open.
The old cables will remain inside the concrete bench walls, reducing the amount of construction work needed. Any unstable bench walls will be removed and weakened ones will be reinforced with a polymer wrap.
While Cuomo presented the shutdown-aversion plan as a done deal, a day after his presentation he told reporters that it actually needed approval from the MTA board.
“I am calling on them to have a meeting, have a meeting right away, make it a public meeting, let the public hear the plan,” Cuomo said during a call with reporters earlier this month. “Because New Yorkers, God bless them, can be a little skeptical and I can see why they would be skeptical in this situation.”
The MTA said it will look to hire a consultant that would report to the agency’s acting chair, Fernando Ferrer. Ferrer told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that the consultant will examine both safety concerns from construction and the cost and duration of the new plan. “The report will be made in public to management and the board, so people can make their own judgments,” Ferrer said.
Board member Veronica Vanterpool tweeted on Sunday that she learned of the meeting just minutes before the MTA’s official announcement.
“After being told past week that no emergency mtg would be had @MTA board finds out 30 min b4 press release is sent that we have emergency mtg,” Vanterpool tweeted. “Yet, NO ACTION is to be taken at this mtg. Can discuss next week. Instead, spending time & limited resources for a publicity stunt.”
A spokesperson for the MTA told the New York Post that Tuesday’s meeting will consist of “a briefing and opportunity for discussion,” but not a vote. The meeting will be open to the public and held at MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway at 12:00 p.m.
- Cuomo says MTA board must sign off on L train plan, one day after it was presented as a done deal
- Cuomo calls for last-minute halt of L train shutdown in favor of a new tunnel design
- Cuomo tours damaged L train tunnel four months before shutdown