Two-month MTA track replacement project in southeast Queens set to begin Friday

Southeast Queens track replacement
The MTA is reminding southeast Queens subway riders that a two-monthlong track replacement project will shut down the J and Z lines beginning Friday night. (Photo via MTA)

Southeast Queens subway riders will have to contend with service cuts on the J and Z lines as the MTA begins critical track replacement work starting Friday night, July 1.

J train service, along with its weekday rush hour addition, the Z train, won’t run beyond 121st Street beginning at 9:45 p.m. on July 1, so that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority can replace 12,500 feet of 40-year-old underground track and third rail, according to the transit agency.

That means there will be no J or Z trains at all until September at Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer station and at the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport stop.

“Track replacement work creates a temporary inconvenience for a lasting purpose: improved quality service,” state Senator Leroy Comrie said. “As the MTA undertakes the final phase of this initiative, let’s keep in mind the long-term benefits to transit users and share the transport alternatives during the replacement work with our families, friends and neighbors.”

Southeast Queens track replacement

The MTA plans to run free shuttle buses between 121st Street station and the E train near Jamaica-Van Wyck stop during the 10-week-long project. MetroCards will be cross honored at LIRR stations between Atlantic Terminal, Jamaica and eastern Queens.

The fix is needed because the track carrying J and Z trains at the eastern end of the lines is at the end of its useful life, according to the agency.

The tracks running below Archer Avenue are fixed directly to the tunnel floor, as opposed to wood ties, so transit workers will have to dig out and replace them along with the aging concrete.

“These upgrades ensure most of southeast Queens’s most vital subway lines are modernized for the next generation,” Council member Selvena Brooks-Powers said. “The culmination of these projects offers southeast Queens residents reliable, accessible and safe access to New York City’s larger transit network.”

J trains will make regular stops between 121st Street and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, but skip-stop service will be suspended and Z trains will be replaced by J trains running the same number of trips to Broad Street as they currently do.

“With southeast Queens being a transportation desert, I am pleased to see the progress being made by the MTA on this project to ensure our community has upgraded rail lines,” Assembly member Alicia Hyndman said. “This would enable the MTA to provide reliable and efficient service to our community.”

The free J99 shuttle will run every 3 to 5 minutes on weekdays, every 4 to 10 minutes on weekends, and every 20 minutes overnight.

Riders heading to JFK Airport should take the A train to Howard Beach, the E train to Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport, or the Long Island Rail Road to Jamaica, before transferring to the AirTrain.

“Track replacement work 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/Z service.”

Once the final phase of the track replacement is complete, the total amount of tracks replaced in southeast Queens will be 18,800 feet, about 3.6 total miles.

“Improving the customer experience in 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. This short-term service change will provide more reliable service for years to come.”

For more information visit the MTA’s project webpage, which is updated as necessary.