The Queens Midtown Tunnel was opened in 1940 by the New York City Tunnel Authority to relieve traffic congestion on the city's East River bridges. One of the largest public works projects of the New Deal era, it represented the most advanced tunnel engineering techniques of its day. The tunnel became a Triborough facility in 1946, when the New York City Tunnel Authority and the Triborough Bridge Authority were consolidated to form the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
Ole Singstad was the designer and chief engineer of the tunnel. His experience as chief engineer of the Holland Tunnel enabled him to meet the challenge of excavating the rocky, unusually difficult conditions under the East River. The diameter of each of the Queens Midtown Tunnel's twin tubes is one and a half feet wider than that of the older Holland Tunnel, to accommodate the wider cars of the period.
The Queens Midtown Tunnel serves as a major connection between midtown Manhattan and Queens. On the Manhattan side is Murray Hill, an attractive residential neighborhood. The Queens portal is in the Hunters Point district of Long Island City, a historic entryway to the borough and a rail and ferry transfer point in the 19th century.