L train will no longer shutdown between Brooklyn, Manhattan: Cuomo

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NEW YORK – A full shutdown of the L train between Brooklyn and Manhattan has been canceled, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a surprise announcement Thursday.

The 15-month closure was set to begin in April in order to repair damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Approximately 225,000 riders take the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and about 50,000 riders take the L in Manhattan.

Cuomo consulted a panel of “the best experts we could find,” and they came up with a “highly innovative but feasible” alternative, Cuomo said Thursday.

The new design has been used in Europe, but never the United States or during a tunnel restoration project, according to Cuomo.

Riders should expect “some” night and weekend closures during renovations, Cuomo said.

Cuomo and experts discuss the project:

During the scheduled shutdown, about 15 percent of riders were expected to take bus service, which was set to be enhanced, and 70 percent of the regular riders were expected to travel on other subway lines.

Cuomo previously promised not to close the train if better options were found.

“I mean, I can’t tell you the number of people in Brooklyn who have come up and said… looked me right in the eye and said, ‘are you sure that there is nothing else that can be done and there’s no way you can possibly shorten this?’ ” Cuomo said last month. “I said, ‘I will make sure that, personally, that there’s nothing else that can be done, and this is the best option.’ And I want to do that.”