Dec. 20, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The MTA tunnel carrying E and M trains between Queens and Manhattan will close for five days of repairs toward the end of December, with officials noting that the tunnel will reopen in time to accommodate riders on New Year’s Eve.
The underground connector, known as the 53rd Street tunnel, will close from 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 26 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 31. for work including signal modernization, power upgrades, and related track and infrastructure maintenance.
The work will be done in and around the tunnel, according to the MTA, between Queens Plaza and 50 St – 8 Av in Manhattan, and is part of long-term capital improvements for the lines.
E and M trains, as a result, will not serve the Court Square – 23rd St station during the closure.
E trains will instead be rerouted along the F line between Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av and W 4 St, where they will then continue on the regular E route to World Trade Center.
M trains will run between Metropolitan Av and Chambers St. F trains, meanwhile, will continue to serve Queens Plaza except overnights, where free shuttle buses will take riders to 21 St- Queensbridge and Court Square.
The five days of work on the E and M tunnel are also related to the ongoing overhaul of the Queens Boulevard line’s signal system, which carries E, M, F and R trains. These four trains, additionally, share track on one segment or another on either side of the tunnel.
The MTA says ridership during the last days of the month is at a significant low, and will allow the agency to do an entire month of weekend work in a single five-day period.
“This intensive work in the under-river tunnel requires workers to have full access to the tracks, but it’s critical for daily reliability and for upgrading the decades-old signals to the latest modern system,” said Andy Byford, MTA NYC Transit president.
Byford added that the work will result in more reliable trips for E, F, M and R customers.
For information on service options, visit MTA.info