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'L-mageddon' averted as New York calls off shutdown of subway line | US news

Nearly a quarter million New Yorkers who for years dreaded "L-mageddon", a planned 15-month shutdown of a key subway tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn, got a last-minute reprieve Thursday with a new plan that will allow repairs The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, made the surprise announcement just weeks after convening a panel of top engineering experts to take another look at the L train tunnel. East river to see if there was a way to fix flood damage from 201[ads1]2's Superstorm Sandy without doing as much demolition and disrupting so many lives. Turns out there was

"This was an outside-the-box, creative solution," said Cuomo, and Democrat, at a news conference announcing the new plan. He was flanked by engineering experts from Columbia and Cornell universities who created the proposal.

The announcement came after years of planning for the upheaval expected to be caused by the tunnel's closure, which was supposed to happen in April. Many Brooklynites had already started rearranging their lives for the expected "L-pocalypse", with some changing jobs or apartments to avoid the looming commuting.

The original plan, adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after lengthy public debate, had called for a complete shutdown of the L line for 15 months while workers repaired damage from Sandy, when salty, flooded seven miles (11km) of the tube.

The plan called for replacing old electrical equipment by removing a damaged concrete bench that lines the tunnel and encases power cables. The cables would then be replaced and the wall rebuilt, in a labor-intensive process.

The new plan calls for installing cables on racks along the inside of the tunnels, and leaving the old cables where they are. The old concrete bench wall would stay too, encased in a protective fiber reinforced polymer, where necessary, or patched

Not having to take out and replace the old wall cuts down on cost and time, officials said.

Shanice Brown, who manages the Goorin Bros hat store in Williamsburg, which has been the hardest hit with the news.

depends on the L train to bring in customers and employees, said the change in plans was a big relief. Brown said she had been worried about what the shutdown would mean for business, and whether or not the MTA had proposed in terms of buses, ferries and other subway lines would have worked.

, "She said. “It was going to be very trial-and-error.”

Some are questioning, however, if the new plan is truly the best option. Pardon transit riders for being skeptical of last-minute Hail Mary's idea over Christmas is better than what the MTA came up with over three years of extensive public input, ”said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group.

The L line is one of the city's most crowded, running through neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick that have become major draws for young people and the businesses that cater to them, such as restaurants and bars.

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