Holland Tunnel - TunnelCast

Paula Wallis reports for TunnelTalk

November 2011: Eighty four years ago this month, the Holland Tunnel, linking the island of Manhattan to New Jersey under the Hudson River in the USA, opened to traffic. Two 16ft long shields, weighing 400 tons, excavated the twin tubes. On a good day, the shields, with a forward thrust of 6,000 tons, advanced 40ft. Seven years after construction began, President Calvin Coolidge pressed a golden lever that parted American flags on both sides of the tunnel at one minute after midnight November 13, 1927, to open the tunnel. In all, 496,500 yd3 of muck were excavated; 129,400 yd3 of concrete was cast; and 3.1 million ceiling tiles and 2.9 million wall tiles were installed.

New York Library Digital Gallery
Contract Documents


Holland Tunnel construction, New York, USA

Tunnel under the Hudson River between New York City, New York and Jersey City, New Jersey.
Twin tube road tunnel.
9,250ft long x 29.6ft o.d. (2.8km x 9m o.d.) Maximum depth from mean high water to roadway: 93.5ft (28.5m)
Total cost:
US$48.4 million Engineer's estimate US$28.7 million.
Construction method:
Shield construction.
Tunnel designer:
Clifford M. Holland Died Oct 28, 1924, just one day before the first hole-through.
Ventilation designer:
Ole Singstad It was the first mechanically ventilated underwater vehicular tunnel.
Booth & Flinn Ltd Lowest of three bids at US$19,331,725.
Start of construction:
March 31, 1922.
Opened to traffic:
November 13, 1927. 51,694 vehicles traveled through the tunnel on the first day.