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Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
Carries 4 lanes of I-478
Crosses East River
Locale Manhattan, New York and Brooklyn, New York
Maintained by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
Total length 2,778.86 m (9,117 feet)
Vertical clearance 12 feet 1 inch (3.7 m)
AADT 47,515 (2008)[2]
Opened May 25, 1950
Toll $5.50 as of July 12, 2009 (both directions per car in cash) ; discount available with E-ZPass
Coordinates 40°41′45″N 74°00′49″W / 40.695833°N 74.013611°W / 40.695833; -74.013611 (Brooklyn-Battery_Tunnel)Coordinates: 40°41′45″N 74°00′49″W / 40.695833°N 74.013611°W / 40.695833; -74.013611 (Brooklyn-Battery_Tunnel)
Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel is located in New York City

The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel is a toll road in New York City which crosses under the East River at its mouth, connecting the Borough of Brooklyn on Long Island with the Borough of Manhattan. The tunnel nearly passes underneath Governors Island, but does not provide vehicular access to the island. It consists of twin tubes, carrying four traffic lanes, and at 9,117 feet (2,779 m) is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America.[3] It was opened to traffic in 1950. It currently carries the unsigned Interstate 478, and formerly carried New York State Route 27A.

Contents

History

Governors Island with Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel vent tower at right

The Battery in the tunnel's name refers to the southernmost tip of Manhattan Island, site of an artillery battery during the city's earliest days.

Construction of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel began on October 28, 1940 by the New York City Tunnel Authority with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[3][4] The tunnel opened to traffic on May 25, 1950.[5]

The tunnel is owned by the City of New York and operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Robert Moses, the chairman of the Triborough Bridge Authority, attempted to scuttle the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel proposal and have a bridge built in its place. Many objected to the proposed bridge on the grounds that it would spoil the dramatic view of the Manhattan skyline, reduce Battery Park to minuscule size and destroy what was then the New York Aquarium at Castle Clinton. Moses remained adamant, and it was only an order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, via military channels, which restored the tunnel project, on the grounds that a bridge built seaward of the Brooklyn Navy Yard would prove a hazard to national defense. This edict was issued in spite of the fact that the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge were already seaward of the Navy Yard.

Manhattan portal

The tunnel was designed by Ole Singstad and partially completed when World War II brought a halt to construction. After the War, Moses's Triborough Bridge Authority was merged with the Tunnel Authority, allowing the new Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority to take over the project. Moses directed the tunnel be finished with a different method for finishing the tunnel walls. This resulted in leaking and, according to Caro, the TBTA fixed the leaks by using a design almost identical to Singstad's original.[6]

The tunnel has a total of four ventilation buildings; two in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, and one on Governors Island that can completely change the air inside the tunnel every 90 seconds.[3]

As of July 12, 2009, the crossing charge for a two-axle passenger vehicle is $5.50 charged in each direction, with a $.93 discount for E-ZPass users. The crossing charge for a motorcycle is $2.50 charged in each direction, with a discount to $.51 for E-ZPass users.[7]

In the 1997 feature film Men in Black, the tunnel's Manhattan ventilation fan station is the location of the secret alien immigration terminal and the headquarters of the Men in Black.

Interstate 478

Interstate 478 shield
Interstate 478
Auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System
Length: 2.14 mi[8] (3.44 km)
Formed: 1971
South end: I-278 in Brooklyn
North end: NY 9A in Manhattan
Numbered highways in New York
< NY 474 I-481 >
InterstateU.S.N.Y. (former) – Reference
Brooklyn portal
Brooklyn Portal in 2-way traffic mode (as of 8/22/2008)

Interstate 478's entire length consists of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and its approaches. Its south end is at Interstate 278, and its north end is at NY-9A (West Side Highway).

I-478 was planned to be signed and continue north to Interstate 78 at the Holland Tunnel via the now-canceled underground Westway project.

The I-478 number has been considered for other routes as well, including:

Before I-478 was moved to the Westway project in 1971, that project was planned as I-695, which would have continued north along the Henry Hudson Parkway to the George Washington Bridge (Interstate 95).

Further reading

References

External links

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