Passengers pack themselves into a crowded L Train on the New York City subway system on May 5, 2016.
William Mathis—AP
July 25, 2016 9:08 AM EDT

One of New York City’s busiest subway lines will shut for 18 months, city officials confirmed Monday, potentially creating havoc for hundreds of thousands of commuters and tourists.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to close the tunnel that carries the L train, one of the city’s most crowded subway lines that runs under the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, to repair damages caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The tunnel, which transports about 225,000 riders beneath the East River each day, will close entirely for a year and a half starting in January 2019, the New York Times reported. It’s the main link between Manhattan and the neighborhood of Williamsburg, whose shops, bars and restaurants have become a magnet for visitors to the city.

It’s just one of a variety of subway systems facing temporary closures across the northeastern U.S., as aging infrastructure in increasingly unable to keep up with the droves of young people moving to cities like New York, Boston and Washington D.C. who prefer mass transit.

New York officials are focusing on finding alternative travel options to accommodate people, including extra subway service plans on nearby lines and a new bus and ferry service.


Write to Mahita Gajanan at

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