Lincoln Tunnel

The Lincoln Tunnel is an approximately 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) set of three tunnels under the Hudson River, connecting Weehawken, New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan, New York City, in the United States. An integral conduit within the New York Metropolitan Area, it was designed by Norwegian-born civil engineer Ole Singstad and named after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. It is one of two automobile tunnels built under the river, the other being the Holland Tunnel. The Lincoln Tunnel carries a daily average of approximately 108,000 motor vehicles.

The 8,216-foot (2,504-metre) center tube opened in 1937, followed by the 7,482-foot (2,281-metre) north tube in 1945. The 8,006-foot (2,440-metre) south tube was the last to open, in 1957.


Lincoln Tunnel

The tunnel was originally to be named Midtown Vehicular Tunnel, but the planners eventually decided that the new tunnel deserved a name that was of similar importance to that of the George Washington Bridge, and named it after Abraham Lincoln.

Designed by Ole Singstad, the tunnel was funded by the New Deal's Public Works Administration. Construction began on the first tube in March 1934. It opened to traffic on December 22, 1937, charging $0.50 per passenger car, equal to $8.2 today. The cost of construction was $85 million, equal to $1.5 billion today.

The original design called for two tubes. Work on the second was halted in 1938 but resumed in 1941. Due to war material shortages of metal, completion was delayed for two years. It opened on February 1, 1945, with Michael Catan, brother of Omero Catan (known as Mr. First, attending over 526 opening day events), selected to be the first to lead the public through the tube.

A third tube was proposed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey due to increased traffic demand but initially opposed by the City of New York, which was trying to get the Port Authority to help pay for the road improvements that the City would need to handle the additional traffic. Eventually, a compromise was worked out, and the third tube opened on May 25, 1957 to the south of the original two tunnels. Although the three portals are side by side in New Jersey, in New York City the north tube portal is one block west of the other two, which emerge side by side at Tenth Avenue between 38th & 39th Streets.

In 2012, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Tunnel, and 85th anniversary of the Holland Tunnel in nearby Jersey City, the Hoboken Historical Museum held an exhibit in its Main Gallery called Driving Under the Hudson: The History of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, which explores the two tunnels' histories, and how they affected the region. Rutgers University professor Angus Gillespie, who wrote the 2011 book, Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of The Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, served as a consultant for the exhibit's design.

Crime and terrorism

Shortly after noon on September 8, 1953, two armed men, Peter Simon and John Metcalf, attempted to rob a home in South Orange, New Jersey. The men were driven off by the residents, one of whom reported the license plate on their car to the police, who put out an alert. A patrolman, Nicholas Falabella, noticed the car just as it passed the toll booth into New York City and ordered the driver to stop the vehicle. The driver sped off into the tunnel, firing at the police. A Port Authority policeman, Donald Lackmun, was hit in the leg. The police commandeered a delivery truck and gave chase, exchanging gunfire with the renegade car while weaving in and out of traffic. In all 28 shots were fired, ten by the gunmen and 18 by the police. The vehicle came to a stop about three-quarters of the way through the tunnel. Simon had taken a bullet to the head.

The Tunnel is considered to be one of the most high-risk terrorist target sites in the United States. Other such sites in New Jersey include the Holland Tunnel and PATH station at Exchange Place, both of which are in Jersey City, and the Port of Newark in Elizabeth.



The three tubes comprise six traffic lanes in total and carries a combined total of almost 120,000 vehicles per day. . During the morning rush hour, one traffic lane in the center tube called the "XBL" (exclusive bus lane) is used only by buses. The New Jersey approach roadway, locally known as The Helix, spirals in a final half-circle before arriving at the toll booths in front of the tunnel portals. In Manhattan, Dyer Avenue and the Lincoln Tunnel Expressway serve as the primary egress roadways for the Lincoln Tunnel. Each of the travel lanes in the tunnel's center tube is reversible. In general, both of the lanes serve Manhattan-bound traffic during the weekday morning rush hour, both of the lanes serve New Jersey-bound traffic during the weekday evening rush hour, and one lane is provided in each direction during other time periods.

Normally, only motor traffic uses the tunnel, but every year, a few bicycle tours and foot races pass through by special arrangement.

The XBL, the tunnel's bus lane, is by far the busiest and most productive bus lane in the United States. The lane operates weekday mornings accommodating approximately 1,700 buses and 62,000 commuters, mainly to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The high ridership on the XBL is higher than New Jersey Transit's commuter rail into Penn Station.

Route numbering

With the cancellation of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway, intended to carry Interstate 495 through New York City to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Long Island Expressway, the NYSDOT and NJDOT demoted the Lincoln Tunnel, Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and the freeway link to NJ 3 as state routes. Some signs still list the tunnels as I-495. Although the Federal Highway Administration still considers the Midtown Tunnel to be an Interstate, the Lincoln Tunnel is no longer on the Interstate system. In New Jersey, the freeway was officially demoted to NJ 495 and very few signs still read "I-495". 34th Street links NY/NJ 495 and I-495.

As of 2012, the tunnel carries the unsigned NY 495 as well as NJ 495. The NY 495 designation applies to the part of the tunnel in New York, and vice versa for NJ 495.


As of December 7, 2014, the cash tolls going from New Jersey to New York are $14 for cars and motorcycles; there is no toll for passenger vehicles going from New York to New Jersey. E-ZPass users are charged $9.75 for cars and $8.75 for motorcycles during off-peak hours (outside of 6â€"10 a.m. and 4â€"8 p.m. on the weekdays; and outside of 11 a.m.â€"9 p.m. on the weekends) and $11.75 for cars and $10.75 for motorcycles during peak hours (6â€"10 a.m. and 4â€"8 p.m. on the weekdays; and 11 a.m.â€"9 p.m. on the weekends).

Historically, the tolls were:

See also

Lincoln Tunnel
  • New Jersey portal
  • New York portal
  • New York City portal
  • U.S. Roads portal
  • Transportation in New York City
  • List of fixed crossings of the Hudson River
  • List of tunnels documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in New York


External links

  • Media related to Lincoln Tunnel at Wikimedia Commons
  • "River Tunnel Built In Record Time" Popular Science Monthly March 1936
  • Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
  • Lincoln Tunnel from
  • XBL Exclusive Bus Lane Enhancement Study
  • Video: Improving Bus Capacity by Streetfilms

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