NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA held an emergency board meeting Tuesday on the new plan to prevent an L train shutdown in the spring.
The board and the public asked engineers whether the project will still be safe and why they weren’t told about this option sooner.
“The thing is that it’s not in their interest for you to know. And it’s in our interest, the people of the city, for you to find out,” one man said.
“I am still enormously upset that we didn’t hear about a lot of this before or somebody didn’t say, ‘you know board, there is a different way to look at this,’” said MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer.
Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented a last-minute repair plan that would still last at least 15 months but only require work on nights and weekends.
Web Extra: Read Gov. Cuomo’s L Train Proposal
Transit Authority President Andy Byford said he’s on board, so far.
“Absolutely, from the start I’ve said that this is hugely encouraging. We as a team, my management team and I, have immediately engaged with this plan,” he said.
MTA contractor WSP recommended the board approve the new plan, which calls for mounting heavy cables on racks connected to the tunnel wall, instead of the more invasive original plan to bury them in the benchwall.
“It allows a visual inspection, it allows access for repairs,” said WSP Senior Vice President Jerry Jannetti. “As we look around the globe and see that this is used in many different places, there are tremendous benefits as well.”
Four years ago, the MTA reviewed a similar plan but rejected it because of safety concerns. WSP said the 2014 plan did not include a racking system and required more and larger bolts that could “damage the concrete lining and induce leakage.”
“Just like the fiber reinforced polymer that is used in the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 train extension, the Culver Viaduct, the Bay Bridge, and many other structures across New York and the United States, the materials used in this project would meet rigorous standards developed for the safety and well being of riders, workers, and the general public,” Jannetti said in a statement. “As the designer who has studied both options, the new approach will meet all the goals of the original plan, with one major difference: riders won’t spend 15 months without L train service.”
“We do need to see what an independent analysis is going to show to make sure that this is really the right approach,” Lisa Daglian, of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, said.
The MTA board still has to approve the plan and will not vote on it until a third-party consultant reviews it and makes a recommendation.