Hugh L. Carey Tunnel Turns 70

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An iconic piece of New York City infrastructure is 70 today.

Construction of the Hugh L. Carey tunnel – originally named the Brooklyn Battery tunnel – began in 1940, after a plan by Robert Moses to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn with a bridge from Battery Park was successfully opposed by then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, among others. Roosevelt was opposed to the bridge because it would have caused the demolition of battery park and blocked views of the skyline of Lower Manhattan.

Construction was completed in 1950, and the May 25th ribbon cutting was marked with ticker tape. At the time, the one-way toll was 35 cents.

The tunnel was designed by Ole Singstad and at 1.7 miles is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America.

It was renamed in 2012 after former Gov. Hugh L. Carey, who served from 1975-1982.

“The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is a vital link between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it remains just as vital to New York City as it did when it opened in 1950,” said Acting President MTA Bridges and Tunnels Daniel DeCrescenzo.

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is flooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy in Manhattan. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Some 60 million gallons of floodwater flowed into the tunnel during Superstorm Sandy, which prompted years of restoration work, including the installation of 20 ton flood gates at the entrances of the tunnel. 

It also serves as the starting point of the annual Tunnel To Towers run, commemorating firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran through the tunnel befpre giving his life on 9/11.