In 2012, Hurricane Sandy filled the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (HLCT) with some 60 million gallons of water. The MTA TBTA worked around the clock to restore the tunnel in just two weeks. The Super Storm also submerged 40% of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel (QMT), with salt water damaging the critical lighting system components, traffic lights and signals, the over-height vehicle detection system, and other vital infrastructure. The extent of damage prompted the agency to pursue flood protection measures for two heavily trafficked tunnels that connect the island of Manhattan to the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.
OHL North America company, Judlau Contracting, Inc., was part of the team that designed and constructed temporary and permanent flood protection measures for each tunnel portal, the enlarged protected perimeter of each tunnel entrance and exit plazas, and ventilation buildings including the Governors Island Ventilation Building (GIVB). In addition to designing and building the project, Judlau is also responsible for maintaining the flood-control system for a two-year period.
The team’s design incorporates gates that are integrated with the architecture of the walls leading up to the tunnel entrances. The four, bronze-colored floodgates—29 feet long, 14 feet high, and 22 inches thick—have the seal of the City of New York on them as well as the United States motto “E Pluribus Unum,” along with the translation “Out of Many, One.” When the tunnel is operating in regular conditions, the flood gates sit on jacks that are mounted to the sidewalk at the side of the portals. In an impending storm event, a two-man crew can deploy the floodgates, with the help of a fork-lift or front-end loader. The crew will also remove the steel road plates that cover the gate receiver trough.
Judlau also constructed a raised seawall at the HLCT Governors Island Ventilation Building, and installed state-of-the-art traffic control, communication, and drainage systems on the interiors of the tunnels. Roadway lighting was replaced with new energy efficient LED lighting to improve public safety, and new tiles, fire-rated ceiling boards, drainage gutters, pavement and catwalks were added. Plaza walls were restored and decluttered, removing conduits and unveiling original granite. The project was completed more than nine months ahead of schedule.
- Tunnel rehabilitation
- Flood mitigation