After months of drama and dread, the long-awaited work on the tunnel that carries L trains under the East River has begun.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, the MTA began rehabbing the Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnels — a project that is anticipated to take until the summer of 2020 to complete.

The massive undertaking on one of the subway system's busiest lines was initially going to require an extended shutdown, cutting off large swaths of northern Brooklyn from Manhattan. But thanks to an eleventh-hour intervention from Gov. Cuomo and a team of transit experts earlier this year, the work is expected to be completed without halting trains entirely.

Now, only one tunnel will be closed at a time, and work to replace cabling and utilities that was damaged when the tubes were waterlogged during the 2012 storm will be completed on nights and weeekends.

L trains will run every 10 minutes in Brooklyn between Rockaway Pkwy and Lorimer St. Every other L train will continue into Manhattan. In Manhattan and at Bedford Av, the L will arrive every ~20 minutes, but at certain times, it may be too crowded to board the first train. (2/8)

— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) April 22, 2019

Under the new plan, trains would keep up 24-hour service, just at reduced intervals.

To be sure, trips will be altered, and many riders who rely on the L will have to make adjustments.

Here's what to expect during the slowdown:


The MTA says that you can expect normal service from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, meaning most workers' commutes should be unaffected.

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Service will begin to ramp down beginning at 8 p.m., and trains will only run every 20 minutes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.


Expect reduced service on the L train all day on Saturdays and Sundays; trains will only stop at each station every 20 minutes.

On a typical weekend now, L trains run as often as every 5 minutes. During the #LProject, trains will only run every 20 minutes between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Stations will be way more crowded than usual—and alternative subway and bus options will have more room. (2/7)

— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) April 24, 2019


Many anticipated alternatives for a full L train shutdown, such as shuttle buses over the Williamsburg Bridge are no longer necessary, but the MTA is still ramping up service on several subway and bus lines to help make up for the lost service.

The M, G and 7 lines will get additional trips during weeknights and weekends. Additionally, M train service will be extended from Essex Street to 96th Street – 2nd Avenue on weekends, and there will also be free transfers at two L stops in Brooklyn.

In Manhattan, the M14A bus will extend to connect to the Delancey Street – Essex Street F/J/M station. M14A and M14D buses will also run more often on weekends and weeknights. Additionally, 14th Street will be closed to most through traffic between Third and Ninth avenues for 18 months beginning in June.

Keep in mind that during these changes, the L may not be the best way to travel. Within Manhattan, take the M14A or M14D bus to get across town. These buses run every 3 to 5 minutes during busiest times. (4/8)