53rd Street Tunnel Closed For Repairs; E And M Subway Service Disrupted

From NYC MTA

The MTA has closed down the 53rd Street Tunnel connecting Queens and Manhattan for repairs.

Starting Tuesday, more than 500 workers will be toiling around the clock replacing the third rail, clearing track drains and installing cables for signal improvements along the E and M lines.

We’ll be doing critical Subway Action Plan maintenance &
repair work to the 53rd St tunnel on the E/M lines Dec. 26-31. More than 500
workers working on signal, track & drain systems to accomplish in 5 days
what would typically take a full month. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8A1C7m3MHU 

During the five-day closure of the tunnel, the M train will not be running except for M shuttle trains between Metropolitan and Myrtle Wyckoff avenues.

The E train will be rerouted along the F line between Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and West 4th Street and then continue on its normal course from there to the World Trade Center, except overnight.

The shut down caused some confusion among commuters the day after Christmas.

It was perhaps the last thing commuters wanted for Christmas.

Signage and MTA agents on site will help guide commuters.

Despite the confusion, the MTA says this is actually the best option, with the agency taking advantage of low ridership at this time of year. Instead of the usual weekend work, a complete shutdown will allow workers to get more done in less time, according to the MTA.

“This is an opportunity to get in that four-five day period, five or six, seven weekends. Just make it happen,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said earlier this month.

Service is expected to be back to normal by 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. If the shutdown is a success, the MTA may try it out on other lines.

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