NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Part of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel that was flooded by Superstorm Sandy reopened to limited vehicle traffic Tuesday afternoon.
At 4 p.m., one lane in the Manhattan-bound tube was open for buses and one lane for cars, the MTA said.
“It was a flume; Colorado River,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said from inside the tunnel shortly before it reopened to traffic. “With all the power, with all the resources, there was nothing we could do about it. We were at the mercy of Mother Nature at that point.”
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports
Tens of millions of gallons of river water rushed into the tunnel as the storm surge crested ashore.
Manhattan bound traffic will be able to use the tube from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily while Brooklyn bound traffic will be able to use the tube from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, the MTA said.
The west tube of the tunnel, normally used for Brooklyn-bound traffic, remains closed for repairs.
Tunnel General Manager Marc Mende told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon said the reason one tube had to remain closed is that all the resources went toward getting one tube open.
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports
“We have to get the people back and forth to work,” Mende said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
Mende joined Cuomo and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a tour of the still-closed tube, while the first cars since the storm were allowed back to Brooklyn in the other.
Some buses were allowed to begin using the tunnel on Monday.
The Battery Park underpass will also be open to westbound bus traffic from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. One lane will be open to eastbound vehicles tomorrow morning and remain open. The westbound direction will open from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. for the coming days.
The underpass connects traffic from the West Side Highway to the FDR.
The Battery Park area was hit with some of the strongest and most devastating storm surge during Sandy. Water poured into the Manhattan entrance of the tunnel, flooding it “from end to end,” MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said following the storm.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office said the storm surge peaked at 13.88 feet at the Battery.
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