History and Facts about the Holland Tunnel
December 2, 2011
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
*** Press Release ***
About 100 years ago in 1920, the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission adopted funds and began construction on what was then referred to as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel.
Seven years later on November 13, 1927, what is today known as the Holland Tunnel (named as a tribute to its first Chief engineer, Clifford M. Holland) operated under the guise of the two state commissions until the Port Authority of NY & NJ took over operations in April of 1930.
The first Hudson River vehicular crossing connects Canal Street in Manhattan with 12th and 14th Streets in Jersey City, NJ, and is considered “an outstanding engineering achievement,” (PANYNJ.gov). The tunnel runs 8,558 feet from portal to portal on the North tube, and 8,371 feet on the South tube at a height of 12 feet, 6 inches tall.
One of the most significant challenges all three chief engineers faced was how to ventilate the 1.6 mile long tunnel. “With the dawn of the automobile age, it was imperative to find a way to remove potentially dangerous automobile fumes,” (PANYNJ.gov).
The third chief engineer, Ole Singstad, found a solution. His idea was to design a circular tunnel with an automatic ventilation system where four ventilation buildings, two on each side of the Hudson River would house 84 immense fans that would provide a change of air every 90 seconds, keeping air quality well within established safety limits.
This innovation by Singstad made the Holland Tunnel the first mechanically ventilated underwater vehicular tunnel in the world. “The methods used to design and build it still form the basis for the construction of many underwater vehicular tunnels throughout the world,” (PANYNJ.gov).
The Holland Tunnel was designated a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil and Mechanical Engineers in 1984 because of its valuable contribution to tunnel design and construction. Furthermore, in 1993 it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.
The Holland Tunnel has 9 toll lanes and has 3.1 million ceiling tiles and 2.9 million wall tiles! The maximum depth from mean high water to roadway is 93 feet, 5 inches. For more information, fun facts and history of the Holland Tunnel, click HERE.