The Montague Street Tunnel carries the R train of the New York City Subway under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It opened to revenue service on Sunday, August 1, 1920 at 2 am with a holiday schedule, the same day as the 60th Street Tunnel. Regular service began Monday, August 2, 1920. The two new tunnels allowed passengers to make an 18-mile (29 km) trip from Coney Island, through Manhattan on the BMT Broadway Line, to Queens for a 5-cent fare. The original construction cost was $9,867,906.52, almost twice that of the 60th Street Tunnel.
Construction of the tunnel began on October 12, 1914, using a tunneling shield in conjunction with compressed air. The tunnel was designed by civil engineer Clifford Milburn Holland, who would later serve as the first chief engineer of the Holland Tunnel. The north tube of the tunnel was holed through on June 2, 1917 and the south tube was holed through on June 20, 1917.
On December 27, 1920, more than ten thousand passengers were forced to evacuate the tunnel. Power to the third rail was shut off after a shoe beam on a train approaching Whitehall Street fell and caused a short circuit, stranding ten subway trains inside the tunnel.
On October 29, 2012, the tunnel suffered severe flooding from Hurricane Sandy. As a result, the tunnel was closed to all train service while repairs were being made. Service in the tunnel was restored using temporary equipment on December 21. However, the MTA has announced that a complete reconstruction of the tunnel systems are needed, so the tunnel was closed for a second time beginning in August 2013 and will remain closed until October 2014.