Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the Queens Midtown Tunnel will reopen to trucks Friday morning, returning full traffic to the tunnel after both tubes were flooded during Hurricane Sandy.
The reopening marks another milestone in the rapid recovery of the crucial Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) link between Queens and Manhattan. The tunnel was reopened to buses November 6, to cars November 9, and now to trucks beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, November 16.
The progress that was made in bringing the Queens Midtown Tunnel back is nothing short of miraculous, Governor Cuomo said. The tunnel had never flooded in its 72-year history, but after being underwater, it is back in service as a vital regional link for both commuters and commerce.
Queens Midtown Tunnel personnel spent five days dewatering both 1.6-mile long tubes. Work then shifted to the mid-river pump room to focus on restoring pumps to working order.
Major electrical repairs also had to be made elsewhere, including to the tunnels lighting system, traffic lights, over-height vehicle detection system and electrical boxes inside the tunnel, which were completely submerged in water.
MTA Bridges and Tunnels employees and contractors worked tirelessly around the clock to bring service back because they understand the importance of this tunnel, not only to New York City, but to the entire region, said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota. Resuming truck traffic through this vital connection is another major step toward the regions recovery.
The Queens Midtown Tunnel, which opened to traffic Nov. 15, 1940, carries 78,000 vehicles on an average weekday.