Dec. 13, 2017 By Christian Murray
The MTA is shutting down the 53rd Street tunnel that connects the E and M trains between Queens and Manhattan from Tuesday, Dec 26. to Sunday, Dec. 31.
The complete closure of the tunnel–which goes below the East River–will have a significant impact on riders who depend on the E and M trains at the Court Square and Queens Plaza stations. Service on both lines will be down.
The MTA announced yesterday that the E train will not be operating between Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue and West 4 Street during the 5-day period as it repairs the tunnel. The M train will be closed in Queens altogether.
With the closure, the MTA will only be operating the G and the 7 trains at the Court Square station during that period, while it will only be providing R service at Queens Plaza.
The MTA is using the 5-day period to bring in more than 500 workers to work on the tunnel. The workers will be installing cables for signal improvements, replacing track and clearing debris, the MTA said.
The agency said it is doing the work during a week when ridership is low. The MTA said that it will achieve the equivalent of a month’s worth of weekend work over the five day period.
The E train at the Forest Hills-71st Avenue station is being re-routed to the F train, which also services that station. The E train at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue will also be re-routed to the F train at that station.
However, in Long Island City there is no one station where the E and the F trains meet. The closest F train to Court Square and Queens Plaza is 21st Street–Queensbridge.
There will be shuttle buses between 21st Street-Queensbridge, Queens Plaza and Court Square late at night but not during the day. The MTA has yet to release those times.
The E and M closures start at 5 a.m., Dec. 26 and go through to 8 a.m., Dec. 31.