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MTA Adds Third Brooklyn-Bound Lane at Hugh L. Carey Tunnel; Expected to Shorten Bus Customers’ Commutes and Reduce PM Congestion

Bridges and Tunnels
Updated September 14, 2020 4:00 p.m.

Two-Way Traffic in East Tube Adds a Lane From Manhattan During PM Peak Period


MTA Bridges and Tunnels today announced that the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel will resume operating three Brooklyn-bound lanes during the weekday afternoon/evening peak travel periods resulting in better traffic flow and shorter commutes for MTA bus customers and motorists. On Monday, Sept. 14, both tubes of the tunnel will carry traffic from Manhattan to Brooklyn between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Two-way operations in the West Tube were paused during the height of the pandemic, but have resumed due to the recent increase in traffic around the southern horn of Manhattan.

“The return of weekday two-way afternoon operations through the tunnel will provide additional capacity and help commuters get home more quickly,” said Daniel DeCrescenzo, President MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “I’m pleased we can accommodate our customers in a safe and efficient manner.”

In June, two-way operations resumed in the East Tube during the weekday morning peak period, allowing a total of three lanes of traffic to operate into Manhattan, instead of just two Manhattan-bound lanes in the East Tube.

The tunnel carries 28 express bus routes that connect Manhattan with Brooklyn or Staten Island. The MTA Bus Company operates the BM1, BM2, BM3, and BM4 between Manhattan and Brooklyn. MTA New York City Transit operates the SIM1, SIM1C, SIM2, SIM3, SIM3C, SIM4, SIM4C, SIM4X, SIM5, SIM6, SIM7, SIM9, SIM10, SIM15, SIM31, SIM32, SIM33, SIM33C, SIM34, and SIM35 routes between Manhattan and Staten Island, and the X27, X28, X37, and X38 between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

"We appreciate the ongoing partnership with our Bridges and Tunnels colleagues as we continually strive to improve commutes for our Brooklyn and Staten Island Express bus customers," said Craig Cipriano, President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of NYC Transit’s Department of Buses. "The additional lane provides a great benefit to our customers’ PM commute."

The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel consists of twin tubes that each carry two traffic lanes under the East River connecting lower Manhattan and the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. The 70 year-old tunnel is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America, stretching 1.7 miles long between portals.

Originally named the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, it was renamed in 2012 in honor of the state’s 51st governor, Hugh L. Carey, who served from 1975 to 1982. In 2019, more than 19.4 million vehicles used the tunnel.

Motorists can sign up for MTA email or text alerts at www.myMTAalerts.com and check the mta.info homepage for the latest information.