NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – MTA and Amtrak officials plan to tour the East River tunnels Friday to explore whether the new technology being employed to avoid the L train shutdown could be applied to other projects.

L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn was slated to shut down for 15 months in the spring to repair damage done by Superstorm Sandy. But last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a surprise announcement, saying the shutdown could be avoided.

“To make a long story short, they have proposed a new design to use in the tunnel,” Cuomo said last Thursday. “It is a design that has not been used in the United States before, to the best of our knowledge.”

The initial plan was to remove the benchwall, which currently holds power cables and is crumbling due to saltwater damage, by hand. Now, a team of engineers from Columbia and Cornell universities recommends the cables be racked and jacketed with polymers.

“After the MTA’s leadership determined that the new scope of work could be achieved with the proper due diligence to ensure the safety and longevity of the project, Amtrak expressed interest in undertaking a preliminary review of these methods to see if they could be applied to any portions of its own projects including the East River tunnels,” the MTA and Amtrak said in a joint statement Thursday.

The engineers will accompany transit officials on their tour Friday.

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