The Queens Midtown Tunnel opened this week, more than three weeks after flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy forced its closure.

Crews worked extra hours manning pumps and attempting to restore the tunnel to working order. The tunnel itself had flooded from water which overflowed from Newtown Creek which is nearby the tunnel. It closed officially on October 29. Once the tunnel was closed traffic was diverted from the area. This trafic was coming from Queens and Long Island into Manhattan and is a main thoroughfare for residents and commuters.

Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and damage throughout the area, forcing city officials to divert traffic and reroute travel from flooded tunnels and roads to what few remaining bridges were open. This caused massive traffic delays and has impeded commerce in the area for almost a month.

Several public transportation systems also suffered damage in the storm. Several subway platforms were flooded during the storm and many remain flooded now with expected restoration not expected for months. The lack of suitable and efficient public transportation has forced many to switch to using cars and trucks to get around, further burdening the traffic system which itself suffered extensive damage from the storm.

In some cases the damage was flooding, in others it was electrical problems, computer issues and general damage caused by wind and debris. Traffic safety officials have been working over time to get the system back up and running. Today’s re-opening of the Queens Midtown Tunnel will make a big difference for commuters and everyone trying to get to and from Manhattan and Queens or Long Island; A big relief for so many.

The problems have also spurred discussion about what future improvements can be made to the system to improve the general flow of traffic; increase the effectiveness of public transportation and prevent a repeat of the situation following the effects of Hurricane Sandy.