Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that beginning Monday morning, normal traffic operations will return to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel with the resumption of contraflow traffic and truck traffic in both directions for the first time since Hurricane Sandy struck on Oct. 29.
The contraflow traffic operation allows three lanes into Manhattan during peak morning drive times between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. It is extremely important in funneling traffic from Brooklyn and Staten Island through the Gowanus Expressway/BQE HOV lane and into lower Manhattan. Approximately 400 New York City Transit and MTA Bus express buses use the tunnel each weekday, carrying about 40,000 commuters daily.
"This announcement is yet another step toward normalcy after this devastating storm, and this extra lane will provide more relief for Manhattan bound commuters during the morning rush hour during this busy holiday season," Governor Cuomo said.
"Our employees have worked extremely hard in getting the signal and communications systems repaired as quickly as possible because we know that this one extra lane into Manhattan can save 15-20 minutes in commuting time for tens of thousands of commuters," said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota.
The tunnel was flooded with millions of gallons of water from the Hudson and East rivers when Sandy struck on Oct. 29th. It reopened to cars and buses during peak drive times on Nov. 12th and reopened around the clock to all vehicles except trucks on Nov. 19th.
Contraflow operations could not immediately resume because the computer circuit board that controls the overhead traffic signals inside the tunnel was destroyed. It took several weeks for the necessary replacement parts to be delivered and the repairs made.