What to Know
The MTA will hold an emergency board meeting on Tuesday to discuss Cuomo’s recently-announced plan to avoid a full L-train shutdown
Since Cuomo’s announcement, safety and other concerns have been raised about the new plan
The New York Times reported that the MTA considered a similar plan several years ago and determined it raised "serious safety concerns"
The MTA held an emergency board meeting on Tuesday to discuss Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently announced plan to avoid a full L-train shutdown.
The L train was supposed to shut down completely for 15-months for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs, but Cuomo earlier this month announced a new L train subway tunnel design that will eliminate a full shutdown. Since Cuomo’s announcement, however, safety and other concerns have been raised about the new plan.
As part of the new plan touted by Cuomo, repairs would take place on nights and weekends, with only one tube closed at any given time.
The New York Times on Tuesday, however, reported that the MTA “considered a similar idea nearly five years ago and determined that it raised serious safety concerns, including the potential for the spread of cancer-causing dust that could harm commuters and workers.”
"What if one morning the silica dust isn't where it needs to be?" MTA board member Polly Trottenberg asked at the meeting.
Jerry Jannetti of WSP Engineering said, "We wouldn't propose a plan we wouldn't think would be safe and durable."
The engineering firm and the contractor explained that they can now take power cables and hang them on racks in the tunnel instead of burying them in what's called a bench wall. The new option means doing the work on nights and weekends instead of a full shutdown.
The board then debated the New York Times report suggesting the MTA had rejected the new technique as too dangerous back in 2015. But one MTA board member, Charles Moerdler, said that's categorically false, adding, "I take umbrage at that."
In a statement prior to the meeting, MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said, "The new integrated approach to fixing the L train tunnel has been validated by experts and is significantly different from the preliminary and draft concept sited by the Times. This draft concept was dismissed because it would have significant impact to the wall of the tunnel by individually bolting cables."
"The new plan would hang the cable in racks — something not previously considered — and would involve approximately 60 percent less bolt penetration," he added. "The new plan also involves significantly less benchwall demolition than anything previously considered.”
Riders said they're not worried about the details -- they just want their trains to keep running, and safely.
"There should be precautions in plance so there's safety, regardless of how much time it takes," said commuter Elliot Rodriguez.