MTA track replacement work will shut down J and Z lines in southeast Queens for much of summer

MTA track replacement in southeast Queens
Southwest Queens subway riders will face a 24/7 closure on the J and Z subway lines for most of the summer as track replacement work gets underway on July 1. (Courtesy of MTA)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Friday that it will begin the final phase of critical track replacement work at the end of the J and Z subway lines in southeast Queens beginning Friday, July 1.

The project will replace nearly 2.4 miles of track between 121st Street and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer stations in Jamaica, and no service will run on the J and Z lines for approximately 10 weeks. During that time period, normal service will be provided on the E line at Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av-JFK Airport.

The project will be completed by the end of September and will include the complete replacement of the 40-year-old track, with an updated design to increase durability leading to improved quality of service, according to the MTA.

It will require full access to the tracks forcing the service suspensions.

MTA track replacement in southeast Queens
Courtesy of MTA

The agency will provide free substitute shuttle bus service between the 121st Street J station and the Jamaica-Van Wyck E station. MetroCards will be cross-honored at Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) stations between Atlantic Terminal, Jamaica Station and southeast Queens. The Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av-JFK Airport and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer stations have multiple connecting bus lines and are served by the E line.

“Track replacement in this area of Queens will bring us closer to our goal — delivering New Yorkers the modern subway system that they deserve,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as we make the upgrades necessary to improve the reliability and speed of J and Z service.”

The replacement work replaces the direct fixation track, in which the rails are directly fixed to the concrete roadbed. Conventional tracks, which are most commonly known, have the rails on top of wooden or concrete ties. In order to replace 12,500 feet of direct fixation track, the concrete roadbed needs to be entirely reconstructed, with the exception of 3,000 feet of track, which would be replaced in kind, according to the MTA. Once the final phase of track replacement is complete, the total amount of tracks replaced in this area of Queens will be 18,800 feet, about 3.6 miles.

MTA track replacement in southeast Queens
Courtesy of MTA

“Improving the customer experience is the north star,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. “The fastest and most effective way to complete this project requires 24/7 access to the tracks. The short-term service change will provide more reliable service for years to come.”

The MTA will post both print and digital signage in stations, along with announcements in stations and on trains ahead of the scheduled work. Customer service notifications will be made on trains, posted at affected stations, and on the MTA website. Information on service changes and other trip-planning resources are available on the project’s webpage, which will be updated as necessary.