Tunnel from Brooklyn Heights to Lower Manhattan is repaired ahead of schedule

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The R train heads through the Montague Tube from Brooklyn Heights to Lower Manhattan Monday. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan.

R U pleased the Montague Tube is repaired and reopened?

Yes, We R!

Commuters rejoiced Monday at the reopening of the R line’s link between Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan, which has been closed for more than a year due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

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Next stop, Whitehall Street — that’s something commuters from Brooklyn haven’t seen on the R train in more than a year.

“I’m very, very happy,” Park Slope resident Maria De Castro told theBrooklyn Eagle as the subway train made its 2-minutes-and-58-seconds trip between the Montague Street station in Brooklyn Heights and the Whitehall Street station near Wall Street.

All those months the R train service was suspended between the two stations, she had to commute on the 2 or 3 trains, which were “really crowded,” she said.

“It’s great to have it back,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Peter Restler as he waited to board the R train at his neighborhood station.

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Walk this way towards the great outdoors.

To the relief of De Castro, Restler and their fellow straphangers, regular R line service resumed at 6 a.m. Monday, several weeks earlier than expected, after a $250 million repair project.

The Montague Tube subway tunnel, which runs under the East River, had been closed since Aug. 3, 2013, after sustaining serious damage from the killer ‘cane.

Prior to the hurricane, 65,000 riders per day passed through the 1.9-mile-long tunnel.

The MTA estimates that 27 million gallons of salt water had poured into the tunnel during Sandy.

whitehall-subway-entrance

And here we are.

During the repairs, Ilene, who lives in Bay Ridge, had to take a more complicated route to work in Manhattan that involved switching trains at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station.

“It made me a little late to work some days,” she said.

Sunset Park resident Alex Hernandez was glad to be taking the R train in a straight shot from his neighborhood to Manhattan Monday.

“I missed it,” he said.

His commute route has been a combo N-plus-6 routine. “It was a pain,” he said.

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