The MTA isn't exactly famous for completing major projects on time, let alone ahead of schedule—the Second Avenue Subway, for instance, has been in the works for nearly a century—but now, the transit agency is hoping to trim the amount of time the L train will be shut down, reports DNA Info.
The closure, which will mean no L train service between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan as the MTA repairs damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, is scheduled to begin in 2019 and last about 18 months. The MTA is hoping, though, that it will be able to shorten the shutdown to 15 months by offering a $15 million award to the contractors who won the repair project.
If the MTA's board approves the bonus, it will be used to incentivize an early finish to the contractors' work fixing the storm-damaged Canarsie Tubes, which the L train uses to travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
It's no surprise that the city wants to speed along the repair process, given how many people stand be to impacted by the train closure. AM New York writes that the line's daily ridership amounts to 400,000, which has doubled over the past 25 years. And in a previous Brick article, a Brooklyn-based broker estimated that for those who depend on the L to get to work, commute times could double or triple.
To that end, the MTA is also working on alternate arrangements for helping New Yorkers get around, holding a series of public meetings to field suggestions. Already in the works are plans to boost G train and ferry service.
Local businesses, though, are expressing concerns about the potential drop in customers coming in to the neighborhoods along the L train corridor, which could have a major impact on their bottom line. The L Train Coalition, a group of community members, organizations, and businesses, says that past shutdowns have led to a 50 percent drop-off in business.
Hence the need to hasten the repair process. But that $15 million bonus is being offered at a time when the cost of fixing the Canarsie Tubes is already climbing higher than originally expected. Per DNA Info, the project's estimated budget recently jumped by $16 million, due to a lengthy contractor selection process. But perhaps an L train that's up and running sooner will help take the sting out of those recent weeky and monthly fare hikes?
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