"We learned just how vital the HLC Tunnel is to the region in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnel with approximately 60M gallons of brackish water compromising the life safety systems in the tunnel," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels president James Ferrara. "This project will increase the level of resiliency against future weather events. This is the largest construction contract in our agency’s history."

In addition to Sandy restoration, the contract with the Queens-based Tully Construction firm will also include previously planned capital improvements at the tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The coordinated approach of matching Sandy-related restoration with other necessary work is a more effective way of addressing multiple project needs.

The scope of the project includes:

  • Replacing the tunnel’s entire traffic control and communications systems
  • Replacement of the entire tunnel lighting system, including use of new LED light fixtures and emergency way-finding safety lights – Replacing the drainage pump and fire line systems
  • Concrete repairs
  • Environmental clean-up to address residual salt, oil and other contaminants swept into the tunnel with Sandy flood waters
  • Replacing tunnel wall tiles, ceiling finishes, catwalks and duct banks
  • Rehabilitation of tunnel curbs and gutters
  • Repaving of tunnel roadways, and
  • Rehabilitation of the Brooklyn toll plaza to improve traffic flow.

A total of 24 construction firms or joint venture teams received the request for proposal under a resolution adopted by the MTA Board in September 2013 allowing Bridges and Tunnels to pre-qualify prospective bidders based on qualifications including experience and expertise in doing tunnel repairs and financial capabilities based on the complexity of the project. Of those, 14 were deemed eligible and Tully Construction was the low-bidder at.

MTA Bridge and Tunnel staff said most of the work will be done during off-peak and nighttime hours. Single tube closures will be necessary but one tube will remain open at all times, with one lane operating in each direction.

The project is partially funded through a FEMA grant for Sandy-related repairs. MTA entered into an agreement with FEMA in April, which will provide USD 403M for repairs to the Hugh L. Carey and Queens-Midtown Tunnels and measures to prevent damage to the tunnels from future flood events. The remaining portion of this project, which consists of previously planned capital work, will be funded from MTA B&T’s Capital Budget.

Work on this contract is expected to be completed within approximately four years.