Queens–Midtown Tunnel

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Queens–Midtown Tunnel
Queens-Midtown Tunnel 4.JPG
Manhattan portal
Overview
Other name(s) Queens–Midtown Tunnel
Location Manhattan and Queens, New York
Coordinates 40°44′44″N 73°57′53″W / 40.74556°N 73.96472°W / 40.74556; -73.96472 (Queens–Midtown Tunnel)Coordinates: 40°44′44″N 73°57′53″W / 40.74556°N 73.96472°W / 40.74556; -73.96472 (Queens–Midtown Tunnel)
Route I-495
Operation
Opened November 15, 1940; 74 years ago (November 15, 1940)
Operator MTA Bridges and Tunnels
Traffic 79,063 (2010)[1]
Toll $7.50 (Cash)
$5.33 (NYS E-ZPass)
Technical
Length 6,414 feet (1,955 m)
Number of lanes 4
Tunnel clearance 12 feet 1 inch (3.68 m)
Route map
Queens–Midtown Tunnel is located in New York City
Queens–Midtown Tunnel

The Queens Midtown Tunnel (sometimes simply known as the Midtown Tunnel and often incorrectly the Queens–Midtown Tunnel)[2][3] is a highway, tunnel and toll road in New York City. It crosses under the East River and connects the Borough of Queens (at the Long Island City terminus of the Long Island Expressway) on Long Island, with the borough of Manhattan (between the major crosstown thoroughfares of East 34th Street and East 42nd Street in the Midtown Manhattan area). Designed by Ole Singstad, it was opened to traffic on November 15, 1940.[4] The tunnel consists of twin tubes carrying four traffic lanes, and is 6,414 feet (1,955 m) long. It once carried New York State Route 24. The tunnel is owned by New York City and operated by MTA Bridges and Tunnels, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Franklin D. Roosevelt at groundbreaking ceremony, Oct. 2, 1936

When planning began, a bridge was strongly supported by some backers, including Robert Moses,[5] who balked at the increased cost of a tunnel and the fact that it would not be completed in time for the 1939 World's Fair. Manhattan borough president Samuel Levy in particular was a strong backer of a six-lane bridge plan. Commissioner William Friedman of the New York City Tunnel Authority rejected the alternative outright.[6]

Since 1981, the tunnel has been closed to traffic for a few hours one night each spring to allow for the annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Animal Walk. Several nights before the circus opens at Madison Square Garden, the elephants march into Manhattan and down 34th Street to the arena. While this event is a much anticipated annual tradition for some, in recent years it has attracted organizations protesting the treatment of the circus animals.[7][8]

In the 1997 feature film Men in Black, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith star in a scene in which their Ford LTD car rides upside down on the ceiling of the tunnel.

Toll plaza at the Queens end

Bus routes[edit]

The tunnel carries 23 express bus routes; twenty of these routes use the tunnel for westbound travel only. The bus routes that use the tunnel are the BM5, QM1, QM2, QM3, QM4, QM5, QM6, QM7, QM8, QM10, QM11, QM12, QM15, QM16, QM17, QM18, QM24, and QM25, all operated by the MTA Bus Company, and the X63, X64, and X68 operated by MTA New York City Transit. All of these routes except the BM5, QM7, QM8, QM11 and QM25 use the tunnel for westbound travel only, as most of the routes use the Queensboro Bridge for eastbound travel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2010 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. Appendix C. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  2. ^ "Queens Midtown Tunnel". Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Queens Midtown Tunnel Access Roads". Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "$58,000,000 Tunnel to Queens Opened". The New York Times. November 16, 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  5. ^ "Queens-Midtown Tunnel". NYCRoads.com. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Bridge, Not Tunnel, to Queens is Urged". The New York Times. April 13, 1936. p. 19. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  7. ^ Barry, Dan (March 22, 2006). "The Manhattan of Beasts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  8. ^ "Elephant Promenade through Queens Midtown Tunnel" (Press release). MTA Bridges & Tunnels. March 14, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Queens–Midtown Tunnel at Wikimedia Commons