16-18 mile car tunnel under Long Island Sound from Long Island to New England at "no cost" to taxpayers

While we await results of the test boring’s of Bill Vardoulis’s proposed 12 mile Tri-Tunnel through the mountains to relieve traffic congestion between the Inland Empire and Orange County, the AP has just reported that New York developer Vincent Polimenia is proposing construction of the longest car tunnel in the world. This 10 billion dollar, 16 to 18 mile, road will enable drivers to avoid the congestion in and around Shea stadium in Queens to commute directly from Oyster Bay on Long Island to New England states saving considerable time, reduce pollution and ease driver frustration.

I’ve spent some time in that area visiting my sister-in-law who lives on Long Island. We have driven around the bend in bumper to bumper traffic to get to CT and points north. This private investor proposed tunnel would not cost taxpayers a dime. It would be paid for by passenger tolls for those who use it. If you can’t build a bridge over the Sound, than tunnel under it so no one sees it. Many years ago Robert Moses actually proposed a bridge over the Sound but his idea met heavy resistance and never materialized. At present the only short cut is a ferry which connects Port Jefferson Long Island to Bridgeport, CT that is subject to changing weather conditions.

AP reporter Frank Eltman’s story reports that the tunnel “would consist of two tubes carrying three lanes of traffic each, plus a central tunnel to be used for maintenance access and emergency ventilation and egress.”

Larry, where are you going with this story? Valid question.

This post is simply to acknowledge the fact that every year we delay a project, costs will continue to escalate and, in the case of the Tri-Tunnel, traffic relief will take a back seat. According to the AP report the Long Island tunnel will be completed by 2025.

“Snooze, you lose” is another phrase I will often use. While the Tri-Tunnel has merit, and would not entail massive eminent domain activity, hopefully would not impact the environment, yet lately no one is talking about it.

I spoke to Bill Vardoulis today. As of now he has not seen any results of Kleinfelder’s test boring’s. Bill said they will only find volcanic rock. The sad tale of this delay is that the tunnel would also contain a six foot pipeline to bring water to south county from the Lake Matthews reservoir in case of any emergency.

Juice readers. What suggestions do you care to share for relief on our current and future east-west commute alternatives?

It’s bad enough that the one way, prime time, toll on the 91 Expressway has just hit $10. As the OCTA toll continues to increase, to meet their minimum speed criteria, these higher tolls may chase some drivers into the free lanes making conditions on the 91 worse than they are today.


About Larry Gilbert