The Queens Midtown Tunnel is also known simply as the Midtown Tunnel. Constructed in 1940, this tunnel’s “claim to fame” has been that since 1981, the tunnel has been closed to traffic for a few hours one night each spring to allow for the annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Animal Walk. Several nights before the circus opens at Madison Square Garden, the elephants march into Manhattan and down 34th Street to the arena. 2010 was the first year since 1981 that this walk did not happen as the circus did not play at Madison Square Garden in 2010.
The Queens Midtown Tunnel is one of the most used access points to Manhattan for NYC driving. At the West end in Queens, the tunnel is the end of the 71-mile-long Long Island Expressway. Officially, the Queens Midtown Tunnel is part of NY-495, but all the destination signs and reference markers designate the tunnel as I-495.
According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the tunnel currently carries approximately 80,000 vehicles per day.
TOLLS ARE CHARGED IN EACH DIRECTION
Effective March 3, 2013:
Two-axle passenger vehicle – $7.50 one-way, $5.33 for E-ZPass users
Motorcycle – $3.00 one-way, $2.32 for E-ZPass users
Previous rates, effective December 30, 2010:
Two-axle passenger vehicle – $6.50 one-way, $4.80 for E-ZPass users
Motorcycle – $2.75 one-way, $2.09 for E-ZPass users
Previous rates, effective July 12, 2009:
Two-axle passenger vehicle – $5.50 one-way, $4.57 for E-ZPass users
Motorcycle – $2.50 one-way, $1.99 for E-ZPass users
ACCESS POINTS TO TUNNEL
From Queens: All vehicles may use the Long Island Expressway (Route 495) or the local street entrances at 11th Street and 21st Street in Long Island City. Tunnel exits will put you on East-West streets.
From Manhattan: Tunnel entrances are on 34th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues and 36th Street on 2nd Avenue.