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Interstate 478 (New York)

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Title: Interstate 478 (New York)  
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Subject: List of unsigned auxiliary Interstate Highways
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Interstate 478 (New York)

For the original subway tunnel to Brooklyn, formerly sometimes called the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, see Joralemon Street Tunnel.
Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel
Logo of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel
Official name Hugh L. Carey Tunnel
Location Manhattan, New York and Brooklyn, New York
Route I-478
Opened May 25, 1950; 64 years ago (1950-05-25)
Operator MTA Bridges and Tunnels
Traffic 45,337 (2010)[1]
Toll $7.50 (cash); $5.33 (New York State E-ZPass)
Length 2,778.86 m (9,117 feet)
Number of lanes 4
Tunnel clearance 12 feet 1 inch (3.7 m)
Route map
Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel

The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, officially known as the Hugh L. Carey 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.[2] It was opened to traffic in 1950. It currently carries the unsigned Interstate 478 (I-478) designation, and formerly carried New York State Route 27A (NY 27A). The tunnel was officially named after former New York Governor Hugh Carey in December 2010.


The tunnel extends from the southern tip of Manhattan to Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood. The Battery in the tunnel's name refers to the southernmost tip of Manhattan, site of an artillery battery during the earliest days of New York City. The tunnel is owned by the City of New York and operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It 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.

The tunnel carries 26 express bus routes that connect Manhattan with Brooklyn or Staten Island. They are the BM1, BM2, BM3 and BM4 operated by the MTA Bus Company, and the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X7, X8, X9, X10, X11, X12, X14, X15, X17A, X17C, X19, X27, X28, X31, X37, X38 and X42 operated by MTA New York City Transit.


Construction began on October 28, 1940 by the New York City Tunnel Authority, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[2][3][4] A large part of Little Syria, a mostly Christian Syrian/Lebanese neighborhood centered around Washington Street, was razed to create the entrance ramps for the tunnel. The shops and residents of Little Syria later moved to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.[5] The tunnel was designed by Ole Singstad and partially completed when World War II brought a halt to construction. After the War, the Triborough Bridge Authority was merged with the Tunnel Authority, allowing the new Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) to take over the project. TBTA Chairman Robert Moses directed the tunnel be finished with a different method for finishing the tunnel walls. This resulted in leaking and, according to Robert Caro, the TBTA fixed the leaks by using a design almost identical to Singstad's original.[6] The tunnel opened to traffic on May 25, 1950.[7]

Robert Moses 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.

On December 8, 2010, New York State legislators voted to rename the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel after former Governor Hugh Carey.[8] The tunnel was officially renamed the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel on October 22, 2012.[9]

The tunnel was closed in advance of Hurricane Sandy and completely flooded on October 29, 2012, from severe storm surge produced by the system.[10] It reopened on November 13 following a cleanup process that included the removal of an estimated 86 million gallons of water. The tunnel was the last New York City river crossing to reopen.[11]

Interstate 478

Interstate 478
;">Route information
Maintained by MTA Bridges and Tunnels
Existed: 1971 – present
;">Major junctions
South end: I-278 in Brooklyn
North end: NY 9A in Manhattan
;">Highway system

I-478 is the unsigned designation for the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and its approaches. Its south end is at I-278 in Brooklyn, and its north end is at NY 9A (West Side Highway) in Lower Manhattan. As originally planned, I-478 would have continued north to I-78 at the Holland Tunnel via the now-canceled underground Westway project.

The I-478 number was considered for other routes as well, including the following:

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 (I-95).

See also

  • New York Roads portal



Further reading

External links

  • about Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
  • Popular Science
  • Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Construction Scenes (1947)—from the MTA's YouTube web link (1:18 video clip)
  • YouTube web link (6:13 video clip)

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