Tunneling Traffic into Westchester



Yeah! Your mother-in-law in Roslyn will be that much closer.

Bid the Whitestone so long. A tunnel proposal connecting Long Island to Westchester may finally be a realization.

Cringe at the thought of trekking down the Hutch through the Bronx to cross the Whitestone Bridge or the Throgs Neck to get to Long Island? Well, by 2025, you may not have to. Powerbroker and master builder Robert Moses dreamt in the late 1960s of having a bridge connect Long Island to Westchester County. Since then, there have been many proposals. The latest is by the Cross Sound Link Project of Garden City, a company headed by Chief of Staff Michael Polimeni and his father, Vincent Polimeni, president and founder.

The duo has come up with an 18-mile-long tunnel that would travel 155 feet underneath Long Island Sound and connect at the footprint of the I-95/I-287 exchange in Rye and at the opening of Route 135 in Syosset in Long Island. It would become the longest road tunnel in the world. The tunnel would have three bores, with two unidirectional highway tunnels with three lanes of traffic each; the middle bore would be reserved for maintenance, utility services, and emergency ventilation. “Long Island is basically a cul-de-sac,” Michael Polimeni says. “The way you go in is the way you’re going to have to come out. The idea is to create a cyclical pattern for vehicular traffic.”

The tunnel “would have zero impact, ecologically speaking,” he maintains. “We are below the Sound, so we don’t touch anything and nothing touches us. It is a pressurized system, so nothing permeates in or out of the apparatus.” And no tolls—thus, Polimeni maintains, there will be no reduction of speeds. “I am assuming that, by the time we come around, we will be able to utilize license-plate registration numbers as a way to charge vehicles,” Polimeni says.

Great idea, this tunnel? Rye Mayor Steven Otis doesn’t think so. “Our ability to move commerce will come to a halt if that tunnel is built. It is undeniable that a tunnel would bring a significant increase in traffic to the I-287/I-95 juncture, thereby making a failed corridor even more impossible.”

Indeed, because it will give Long Islanders another route to get to New Jersey, northern New York, and New England, many claim Westchester traffic will increase. Polimeni’s response? Do a traffic study. And if it proves not problematic, the tunnel may be operable by the year 2025.
—Jonathan Quartuccio

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