Work on Sandy-Battered Battery Tunnel to End Well Ahead of Schedule

Left: Water from Superstorm Sandy floods a tube of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (aka Hugh L. Carey Tunnel). Right: Earlier repair work on the tunnel. Photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin (flood); MTA (repair)

Jan. 02, 2017

It’s been more than four years since over 60 million gallons of Superstorm Sandy floodwaters gushed into the two tubes of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, rising to the ceiling. It took just a month for workers, laboring day and night, to drain the tunnels and make them passable for car traffic. But much long-term damage remained and the $282.5 million job of fully restoring this critical link between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for some 52,000 vehicles daily still goes on.












The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that the push is on to get the total work completed nine-months sooner than originally scheduled—March rather than December of next year. The Brooklyn-bound tube is to be finished this March, also nine months ahead of schedule.

Each weeknight from 8 p.m. until 5:30 the next morning and all weekends the Brooklyn-bound tube is closed to traffic while, inside, between 150 to 250 workers are replacing and repairing elements and systems that were affected by Sandy’s corrosive waters.

Closing the tubes for the ongoing work “definitely causes an impact to traffic and we’re aware of that,” Joyce Mulvaney, director of community affairs for the MTA’s Bridges and Tunnels division, told a recent meeting of Community Board 1. “We don’t want this to drag on forever. It’s supposed to be a four-year project and now it’s been shortened.”

“We also want to get the work done,” Mulvaney noted, “before God forbid there’s another major storm of this magnitude.”

“Now, because of the accelerated schedule, these guys are working from Friday night all the way to Monday morning, around the clock,” said Lou Andreani, an MTA bridges and tunnels facilities manager. “It’s wearing on the workers but this is something we’ve been mandated to do to get this job done earlier.”

“We have probably 80 percent of the new tiles up, 99 percent of the ceiling up, the catwalk is up, so we’re really moving well,” he added. (All four million tiles had to be replaced, one by one, Andreani said.)

In the meantime, the MTA is looking to permanently guard against another Sandly-like surge, or worse. By the end of this year, Andreani said, new permanent barriers (such as possible sliding gates) are expected to be in place to protect the tunnel portals, and there are to be other protective systems that can be deployed. Last month, the MTA awarded the contract for the design and construction of that work.