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Queens Midtown Tunnel reopens to regular traffic

The MTA released photos of flooding in the Queens Midtown Tunnel due to Hurricane Sandy. MTA Bridges and Tunnels / Mark Valentin
TimesLedger Newspapers

As of Monday morning, the Queens Midtown Tunnel reopened to regular traffic after Hurricane Sandy forced much needed repairs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The restoration allowed three lanes of traffic to drive into Manhattan during the peak morning rush, Cuomo said, marking the completion of repairs to the signal control system operating the overhead lights inside the tunnel.

Because of flooding in the tunnel in the wake of the Oct. 29 storm, Cuomo said the system could only keep lights either all green or all red, resulting in an irregular traffic flow in and out of the tunnel through most of November. But since contra flow traffic lanes were reopened Monday morning, the lights could operate independently, which Cuomo said was necessary during two-way traffic operations.

“With this change, the Queens Midtown Tunnel has been fully restored to pre-Sandy service,” Cuomo said. “It will provide more relief for inbound commuters during the morning rush hour during this busy holiday season.”

The contra flow traffic pattern is used between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., Cuomo said, to allow the most traffic into the tunnel connecting Manhattan to Queens and Long Island via the Long Island Expressway. The Queens Midtown Tunnel initially reopened in stages beginning with bus service on Nov. 6, cars on Nov. 9, and trucks on Nov. 16 as the city recovered from the devastating effects of the storm.

According to Cuomo, repairs were still ongoing on the overhead signal control system at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The Carey Tunnel also reopened around the clock to all traffic, excluding trucks, on Nov. 19, Cuomo said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-457

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