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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Queens residents are in for some turbulent traveling this summer, as the LIRR has announced that due to construction being done to Pennsylvania Station tracks, there will be massive changes to their summer schedule.

The revised schedule, which takes place between July 10 and will go through at least Sept. 1, includes canceling or diverting 15 morning rush hour trains that normally arrive at Penn Station between 6 and 10 a.m., affecting approximately 9,600 customers. Amtrak, which owns Penn Station and the tracks there, will be making repairs to several tracks after numerous rail problems in recent weeks.

After Amtrak announced the impending work, the MTA teamed with the Penn Station Task Force, which was created in May by Governor Andrew Cuomo, to create a comprehensive transportation plan with the goal of restoring the commuter capacity lost by the construction.

As an alternative for those whose normal trains have been canceled or diverted, the MTA will be adding new trains to Penn Station and approximately 36 cars to trains already en route to Penn. Three overnight trains between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. will be canceled to meet the need for additional cars.

Providing other options to get around beyond the LIRR, the MTA will be creating a bus and ferry network for rush hour commuters affected by the disruptions. Both services will be free for LIRR monthly and weekly ticket holders.

Approximately 200 buses will be deployed, picking up riders throughout Long Island and traveling to Manhattan via the HOV Lanes on the Long Island Expressway, and will enter Manhattan via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Along with the buses, the ferry service to the 34th Street Pier in Manhattan will run from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m., including one from Hunters Point in Long Island City.

The ferry will run three times during the morning and three in the evening with a total capacity of 1,200 customers.

A shuttle bus will run between the ferry and the Hunterspoint Avenue LIRR station to coincide with the LIRR trains rerouted to Hunterspoint Avenue and will be free to LIRR train ticket holders.

Looking to reduce highway traffic during peak hours with the increase in buses, the MTA will reduce tolls for trucks by 50 percent between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on all MTA-operated bridges and tunnels.

Highway maintenance staff will be placed at strategic locations to quick-clear debris, perform emergency maintenance or other tasks necessary to ensure the flow of traffic during the morning and evening peak travel period.

In order to ensure customers are informed, the MTA created an outreach and awareness campaign with all the information travelers need to plan their commute accordingly.

This campaign includes commercial and newspaper advertisements running throughout the summer, social media announcements, text and email messages, flyers on LIRR trains and an increase in LIRR representatives on trains and stations.

Visit www.mta.info for additional information about the service changes.

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