East River tunnel shutdown to impact subway riders between Queens, Manhattan

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- It may take some subway riders who travel between Queens and Manhattan a little longer to get around later this month.

The MTA is planning to shut down an East River subway tunnel used by the E and M lines right after Christmas for what it calls "urgent repairs," during which a small army of 500 workers will tackle a number of upgrades. The work begins December 26 and is expected to wrap up on New Year's Eve.

Among the repair and maintenance items on the MTA to-do list is four miles of cabling to improve signals; 2,000 feet of third-rail replacement; 700 feet of new track; and 1,000 feet of track drainage clearing.

"There are going to be a lot of lines that are going to be impacted, an enormous amount of redundancy, meaning we are going to be able to reroute some of the trains on other lines," MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said.

The MTA specifically chose the final week of the year to do the work because ridership is low, thereby minimizing the impact to straphangers.

Officials insist the service enhancements will be ready to go by the time the big festivities get underway on December 31.
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