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Title Article [Holland Tunnel]: Linking New York and New Jersey. By Clifford M. Holland; in The American City, Vol. XXIV, no. 3, March 1921.
Object Name Article
Catalog Number 2011.005.0068
Collection Holland Tunnel Collection
Credit Museum Collections. Gift of a friend of the Museum.
Scope & Content Article: Linking New York and New Jersey. The Isolation of these Two States from Each Other to be Overcome by New Vehicle Tunnels. By Clifford M. Holland, Chief Engineer, New York & New Jersey Tunnel Commission. As published in journal The American City, Volume XXIV, No. 3 (March 1921), pp. 231-232. With illustration: Profile and Plan of the New York-New Jersey Tunnel.

See notes for full text.

The Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel (renamed Holland Tunnel in 1924 after his death) was under construction.
Notes archives 2011.005.0068
(article published in The American City, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, March 1921, pp. 231-232)

Linking New York and New Jersey
The Isolation of these Two States from Each Other to be Overcome
by New Vehicle Tunnels

By Clifford M. Holland
Chief Engineer, New York and New Jersey Tunnel Commission

THE states of New York and New Jer-
sey, which are vitally interdependent,
have needed for many years a larger
and more reliable link in their transporta-
tion facilities than the present overburdened
ferry system. There is no room for the ex-
pansion of the existing ferry service, and
the transportation business of the water-
front has vastly outgrown its present facil-
ities. To overcome this lack of transporta-
tion the new interstate tunnel was proposed
and is now actually under construction.
Although the total cost of the undertaking
is estimated at $28,669,000, it has been
shown that with reasonable tolls the tunnel
will not only pay its maintenance but within


12 years will pay its entire cost of construc-
tion, and by the end of 20 years there will be
a surplus of more than $66,000,000 to be
divided between the states of New York
and New Jersey.

The essential features of the proposition
are the construction of twin tubes of cast
iron, 29 feet in external diameter, larger
than any existing American sub-aqueous
tunnel of the shield-driven type. The mean
length of the cast iron ring section will be
6,600 feet, and the distance between grade
points of the tunnel-which includes the
open-cut approaches-is 9,300 feet. There
are to be two ventilating shafts on each
shore to take care of the removal of ob-
noxious exhaust gases from motor vehicles.
The ventilation problem has been one of the
most difficult of solution in connection with
the tunnel project.

The tunnel will run from Canal Street,
New York, a wide east-and-west thorough-
fare which is approximately at the center
of down-town traffic over the Hudson fer-
ries, to a point almost directly opposite on
the New Jersey shore, thus giving a tunnel
of minimum length. The New Jersey ter-
minus is near the center of traffic and af-
fords direct communication with Jersey City
Heights and points beyond, and the water-
front and railroad yards are easily accessible.

In determining the traffic capacity of the
tunnel, the chief considerations were: (1)
volume and character of the vehicular traf-
fic which will seek the tunnel; (2) capacity
of one, two and three lines of traffic in each
direction; (3) economical size of tunnel in
relation to amount of traffic; (4) limitation
of traffic by street congestion in vicinity of
tunnel entrances and exits. A careful study
of the average daily traffic based on 24-
hour counts made at the ferries was 12.2
times the maximum hourly traffic. A study
of conditions showed that a two-line tun-
nel-that is, four traffic streams-will have
sufficient capacity to accommodate all traf-
fic of motor as well as horse-drawn vehicles


up to the year 1935, and if horses were
eliminated during rush hours its capacity
would not be reached until 1937.

To determine the proper dimensions of the
tunnel, measurements were taken of vehicles
crossing the Hudson River on the ferries
between New York and New Jersey, and it
was found that their height varied from 6
feet 6 inches for passenger cars to a maxi-
mum of 13 feet for large loaded trucks, but
that the number exceeding 12 feet in height
was not over 1 per cent. It was also found
that the width of motor vehicles varied from
6 feet for passenger cars and light trucks to
a maximum of 10 feet 6 inches for army
transport trucks. In the case of three-horse
teams, the outside dimension of three horses
abreast was found to be 9 feet, but the num-
ber of vehicles exceeding 8 feet in width
is only 3J4 per cent.

Motor truck manufacturers suggested 12
feet 2 inches as the greatest distance be-
tween the road and the top of the truck
body, and 8 feet as the greatest width of
the body. To provide for all contingencies,
such as unevenness in the surface of the
roadway, spring action of vehicles, and al-
lowances for jacking up in case of break-
down, the clear headroom of the tunnel was
fixed at 13 feet 6 inches.

With the tunnel carrying two lines of
vehicles in the same direction on one road-
way, the normal operation conditions are as
though there were one vehicle 8 feet wide
in the slow line, and one 6 feet wide in the
fast line. There may be times, however,
when there will be 8-foot-wide vehicles op-
erating in both the slow line and the fast.
In the slow line of the two-line tunnel ve-
hicles operating at a speed of 3 to 6 miles
per hour should have a clearance of not
less than 6 inches between the outside of the
tire and the curb, while in the fast line, on
account of the greater speed, this clearance
should be not less than 1 foot. Allowance
is made for a minimum clearance of I foot
9 inches between the moving vehicles, and
the minimum width of roadway is 19 feet.
For safe and convenient operation, however,
a clearance of 2 feet 9 inches between the
moving vehicles should be provided, giving
a 20-foot width of roadway for two-line
traffic, which has been provided.

The problem of ventilating the tunnel has
been investigated under three main sub-
divisions: (1) amount and composition of
exhaust gases from motor vehicles; (2) di-
lution necessary to render these exhaust
gases harmless; (?3) method and equipment
necessary for adequate ventilation. After
very thorough study the tunnel has been de-
signed with four ventilating shafts, two of
which, 3,400 feet apart, are located near the
pierhead line, and the other two between
these shafts and the portals. With this ar-
rangement, cost of operation is reduced to
about one-quarter of what it would be if the
tunnel were provided with only two ventilat-
ing shafts at the bulkheads. All fans and
motors are to be located in structures at the
top of the ventilating shafts, and will be of
standard sizes. The fresh-air duct is to be
located between the roadways and the ex-
haust duct above, in accordance with the
results of experiments conducted in 1916
by the Public Service Corporation of New

Work has already begun in digging the
shaft for the tunnel, and contracts are being
let gradually, in order to take advantage of
the possible reduction in labor and material
costs within the next three years.

People Holland, Clifford Milburn
Date 1921
Year Range from 1921
Year Range to 1921
Search Terms Holland Tunnel
Caption 01: pg 231
Imagefile 086\20110050068.TIF
Classification Tunnels
Government & Politics