Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to reopen to cars

The flooded Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, previously known The flooded Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, previously known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, in New York City. (Nov. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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One tube of the Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel will reopen to cars Tuesday afternoon, 15 days after superstorm Sandy hit the metropolitan area, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.

The Manhattan-bound tube will be open for Manhattan-bound traffic from 6 to 10 a.m. daily, and the same tube will switch to Brooklyn-bound traffic from 3 to 7 p.m., the governor said. No timetable has been established for reopening the tube that normally carries Brooklyn-bound traffic, he said.

The tunnel was opened to buses at 4 p.m. on Monday; cars will have access to one lane beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Trucks are barred from the tunnel.

"In many ways this site for me is a metaphor for the entire situation," Cuomo said, recalling watching a "white water rapid of water" running through the 1.7 mile tunnel as Sandy moved in Oct. 29.

The East River was coming across Manhattan and meeting the Hudson River, Cuomo said, and about 43 million gallons seawater flooded both tubes.

"The water was coming, and there was nothing we could do about it," the governor said. "We were at the mercy of Mother Nature at that point. We're lucky it stopped where it did."

MTA chairman Joseph Lhota estimated 43 million gallons of water wound up in the tunnel, which connects Brooklyn to Manhattan under the East River. The water destroyed electric and ventilation systems, Lhota said.

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It took an "extraordinary effort" -- workers putting in "countless hours" to reopen the tunnel, Cuomo said.

With Yancey Roy

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