Albany, NY (November 23, 2012)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that contraflow traffic lanes at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Queens Midtown Tunnel, allowing three lanes of traffic into the city during the peak morning drive time, will be in effect again beginning Monday morning.
The traffic pattern is being restored after repairs to the signal control system operating the overhead lights inside the tunnel were completed. That allows green lights to be displayed over one lane and red lights over the other lane within the same tube, which is necessary during two-way traffic operation. Following the storm, the system could keep the lights either all green or all red.
“With this change, the Queens Midtown Tunnel has been fully restored to pre-Sandy service,” Governor Cuomo said. “It will provide more relief for inbound commuters during the morning rush hour during this busy holiday season.”
The contraflow traffic pattern is used between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. to allow the most traffic into the tunnel, which is a main corridor connecting Manhattan to Queens and Long Island via the Long Island Expressway.
The tunnel was flooded with water from nearby Newtown Creek when Hurricane Sandy struck the night of October 29. Video of water rushing into the tunnel the night of the storm is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCrMpDfPfZw. Photos of water rushing into the tunnel and recovery efforts are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/sets/72157632061221446/.
Following a massive recovery effort, the Queens Midtown Tunnel reopened in stages beginning with bus service on November 6, cars on November 9 and trucks on November 16.
Work continues on the overhead signal control system at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which was hit even harder by Sandy. The Carey Tunnel reopened around the clock to all traffic excluding trucks on November 19.