Track replacement project at Queens end of E subway line will finish early: MTA

Photo by Alex Mitchell

The MTA announced that critical track work at the Queens end of the E subway line will be completed two weeks ahead of schedule and under budget on Nov. 30.

The second phase of replacement work, including 6,300 feet of track and 9,800 feet of third rail will lead to improved reliability and better service along the line from Jamaica-Van Wyck to Jamaica Center.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTA had begun transforming the way we do construction, and we brought that new approach to what we did here on the E line in southeast Queens,” MTA Construction and Development President Janno Lieber said. “We are taking advantage of the low ridership during COVID to get more work done and to complete it faster. And more projects than ever are being completed ahead of schedule and on budget. But to keep making progress in rebuilding the system, we need help from the federal government.”

Since 2016, there have been 46 incidents along that stretch of the E line in Queens, resulting in 713 delayed trains.

“I applaud the MTA for rapidly completing their project ahead of schedule of the E train, limiting inconvenience for southeast Queens commuters while performing the much-needed track replacement,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said. “While suspended service is never easy, the community outreach was critical in keeping our community informed and prepared for these service changes. However, the lack of revenue caused by the COVID threatens these necessary projects, and I will continue fighting in Congress to secure emergency federal funding for the MTA.”

The E line project was originally expected to finish in mid-December.

“I thank the MTA for not only wrapping up this project ahead of schedule ahead of schedule but also for working with locally elected leaders and southeast Queens transit riders to cross honor tickets and implement alternative service via temporary shuttle buses and the LIRR during construction,” state Senator Leroy Comrie said. “This experience demonstrates that the MTA’s ability to meet the demands of riders while completing necessary infrastructure repair and modernization projects.”

Phase 1 of the project was completed ahead of schedule in October, which allowed for an acceleration of Phase 2 work and limited train service at Sutphin Blvd/Archer Av-JFK and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer on Nov. 2.

“Southeast Queens residents are so resilient, that they stayed the course and allowed the MTA to do the much necessary work on our E train service during the pandemic,” Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman said. “The gift for their patience is full E train service almost two weeks before the anticipated deadline. Thank you to the MTA and their hard workers for ensuring SEQ constituents can get back on track efficiently.”

The MTA accelerated this project’s timeline from later in the 2020-24 Capital Program to take advantage of low airport travel and low general subway ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic, minimizing the disruption of the work and impacting fewer riders.

“We are pleased that this important track replacement work is finishing ahead of schedule and transit riders can now resume their usual routines,” Councilman I. Daneek Miller said. “Any suspension in service at a major transit thoroughfare such as this can be difficult, but thanks to the working partnership with the MTA, our local elected offices and community partners, we are confident that riders had sufficient alternate transit options, including cross-honoring on the LIRR.”

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