The Holland Tunnel, which links New York to New Jersey, was opened in 1927. The first vehicular tunnel to travel beneath the Hudson River, the Holland tunnel was considered to be an outstanding feat of engineering genius, and is now cited as a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The Chief engineer on the Holland Tunnel project, originally named the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel, was Clifford Holland, a pioneer in the business of tunnel construction. His twin-tube design for the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel was a revolutionary concept, a concept still in use today! The tube-shaped design of the Holland tunnel creates a safe and sturdy haven of transportation, allowing millions of vehicles and Manhattan car rentals to cross nearly 8,558 feet of the Hudson River. Today the Holland Tunnel is one of the busiest tunnels in New York City, connecting Canal Street, Manhattan to 12th Street in Jersey City.
Interesting Facts about the Holland Tunnel
- The deepest section of the Holland Tunnel is located over 93.5 feet of water beneath the Hudson River
- There are 31 million ceiling tiles on the Holland Tunnel and over 2.9 million wall tiles
- There are 9 toll lanes of traffic leading into the Holland Tunnel
- In 2004 some 33,926,000 vehicles traveled the tunnel
- Clifford Holland never got to see his masterpiece tunnel completed he died one day before construction even began on the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel
- The first non-official vehicle to cross the Holland tunnel wasnt a Manhattan rental car it was actually a truck making a shipment of merchandise to the Bloomingdales Department Store in downtown Manhattan!
A Brief History of the Holland Tunnel
Before millions of Manhattan car rentals could travel through the Holland Tunnel, thousands of workers had to blast through miles of muddy river bed beneath the Hudson River. During the process some 13 workers were killed, and many suffered from intense bouts of the bends due to the tunnels compressed air supply. It took some seven years for the Holland tunnel to be completed as workers from both the New York and New Jersey side tunneled towards completion. On November 13th, 1927, then President Calvin Coolidge formally opened the tunnel, unlocking it with the same key used to open the Panama Canal some 12 years early.
Disaster Strikes the Holland Tunnel
On May 13, 1949 disaster struck the Holland Tunnel when a chemical truck carrying some 80 drums of carbon disulfide caught on fire. Ten trucks and cargo vehicles were destroyed in the blaze along with 600 feet of the New Jersey tunnel section. 650 tons of debris had to be cleared from the tunnel before it was cleared to open 56 hours after the initial accident. Damage to the tunnel was estimated at $1.0 million, including cable and wire connections throughout the tunnel. 66 people were injured during the blaze, but amazingly there were no fatalities. A second close call involving the Holland Tunnel took place on March 25 of 2002. one of the storage facilities located close to the Jersey City entrance of the tunnel suffered a multiple-alarm blaze, threatening the western portals of the Holland Tunnel. For several days the tunnel was forced to close as demolish crews and fire fighters stabilized the area.
Todays Holland Tunnel
Since the Holland Tunnel was officially opened in 1927 it has carried some 1.3 billion automobiles between New York and New Jersey! There is a toll to use the Holland Tunnel in your Manhattan car rental, but only if you are traveling eastbound. The toll is six dollars cash only please. Since the 9/11 attacks of 2001 a variety of new restrictions have been put into place, especially concerning tractor-trailer usage of the tunnel. Towed vehicles are no longer allowed inside the Holland tunnel, nor are trailers. If you are traveling with a trailer or towing a vehicle behind your Manhattan car rental you may wish to consider traveling across the George Washington Bridge.