Lincoln Tunnel

The Lincoln Tunnel is a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) long tunnel under the Hudson River, connecting Weehawken, New Jersey and the borough of Manhattan in New York City.

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Lincoln Tunnel NJ Entrance
Carries 6 lanes of NJ 495/NY 495
Crosses Hudson River
Locale Weehawken, New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan in New York City
Maintained by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Total length 2,280 meters (7,482 feet) (North Tube)
2,504 meters (8,216 feet) (Center Tube)
2,440 meters (8,006 feet) (South Tube)
Width 6.55 meters (21.5 feet)
Vertical clearance 3.96 meters (13 feet)
AADT 119,682 (2007)[1]
Opened December 22, 1937 (Center Tube)
February 1, 1945 (North Tube)
May 25, 1957 (South Tube)
Toll (eastbound) Autos $8.00 Cash, $8.00 peak with (E-ZPass), $6.00 off-peak with (E-ZPass)
Coordinates 40°45′45″N 74°00′40″W / 40.7625°N -74.01111°E

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The tunnel was designed by Ole Singstad. The project was funded by the New Deal's Public Works Administration. Construction began on the first tube in 1934. It opened to traffic in December 1937, charging $0.50 per passenger car. The cost of construction was $75,000,000.

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 at a cost of $80 million, 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 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 in May 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 10th Avenue between 38th & 39th Streets.


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 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 gun fire 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 fourths of the way through the tunnel. Simon was hit in the head.


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The three tubes carry six traffic lanes in total. During the morning rush hour one traffic lane in the center tube called the XBL (Exclusive Bus Lane) and is only used by buses. The New Jersey approach roadway, locally known as "the Helix" or "the Corkscrew", spirals in a full 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.

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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.

The tunnel carries almost 120,000 vehicles per day, making it one of the busiest vehicular tunnels in the world. The XBL is by far the busiest and most productive bus lane in the United States. The lane operates weekday mornings between 6:15 and 10:00 a.m., accommodating approximately 1,700 buses and 62,000 commuters, mainly to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The high ridership on the XBL is about the same as all New Jersey Transit's commuter rail into Penn Station.

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

Route numbers

With the cancellation of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway, intended to carry Interstate 495 through New York City to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and onto the Long Island Expressway, the NYDOT 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 the disjointed segments of I-495.


* The delay in the Lincoln Tunnel's construction was explained as an elaborate criminal real estate plot in the Doc Savage adventure The Giggling Ghosts (1938).

* In Stephen King's book The Stand, two characters escape the dead New York through a Lincoln Tunnel clogged with cars and corpses.

* In the novel Terrorist by John Updike, main character Ahmad is going to blow up the tunnel with a truck full of chemicals.

* In the 2005 book The Lightning Thief, the main characters end up getting attacked by the Furies (Hades's minions) on a Greyhound bus in the Lincoln Tunnel.

* In the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, the tunnel connecting the fictional equivalents of Manhattan and New Jersey is called the Booth Tunnel, after John Wilkes Booth.

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