MTA Bridges and Tunnels today announced it is taking advantage of reduced traffic volumes to ready its tunnel flood mitigation infrastructure for this year’s hurricane season, which runs from June through November. The MTA has started test deployments of flood gates and other mitigation measures at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel).
“Although our attention is primarily dedicated to helping the region recover from the pandemic, Hurricane Season is less than a month away and we cannot lose sight of our storm preparedness,” said Daniel DeCrescenzo, Acting President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “Because of reduced vehicular volumes at our facilities, we are able to perform critical tests of our flood prevention infrastructure with virtually no impact to traffic. As we close one tube for our overnight closure tests, traffic is able to flow freely in the other tube.”
Each of the massive hinged steel flood gates can be moved only when the tunnel tube is fully closed to traffic, so the tests are performed during the overnight hours. MTA B&T installed eight of the portal gates—four at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (two at each side) and four more at the Queens Midtown Tunnel—during 2017 as part of its long-term flood mitigation program implemented after Superstorm Sandy.
Each gate weighs 20+ tons, is 29 feet long, 14 feet high and nearly two feet thick. The gates have an articulating bottom to accommodate the slope of the tunnel plaza.
In order to maintain preparedness for another devastating storm, B&T performs full test deployments of all of its flood mitigation measures each year. The tests are typically conducted starting late-May, before the start of hurricane season.
All of these flood mitigation measures were designed to protect against a FEMA 500-year flood event.