Every year, more than thirty-three million vehicles traverse the Holland Tunnel, making their way to and from Jersey City and Lower Manhattan. From tourists to commuters, many cross the tunnels 1.6 mile corridor on a daily basis, and yet few know much about this amazing feat of early 20th-century engineering. How was it built, by whom, and at what cost? These and many other questions are answered in Highway under the Hudson, Robert W. Jacksons fascinating story about this seminal structure in the history of urban transportation.
In this meticulously researched and compelling work, Jackson provides the first complete history of the planning, financing and construction of the Holland Tunnel. Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1927, the Holland Tunnel was the longest and largest vehicular tunnel in the world at the time of its construction.
In Highway under the Hudson, Jackson explains the economic forces which led to the need for the tunnel, and details the extraordinary political and social politicking that took place on both sides of the Hudson River to finally enable its construction. He also introduces us to important figures in the tunnel´s history, such as New Jersey Governor Walter E. Edge, who, more than anyone else, made the dream of a tunnel a reality; George Washington Goethals (builder of the Panama Canal and namesake of the Goethals Bridge), the first chief engineer of the project; engineers Ole Singstad, who designed the ventilation system, and Clifford Holland, the chief engineer for whom the tunnel is named; New Jersey Bridge and Tunnel commissioners Thomas Albeus Adams and John F. Boyle, who tried to profit from the tunnel´s construction; Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, who blocked completion of the tunnel until the New York Bridge and Tunnel Commission agreed to pay for street improvements in his city; and the compressed-air workers (called sandhogs) who risked their lives to build the tunnel.
Fully illustrated with more than 50 beautiful archival photographs and drawings, Jacksons story of the Holland Tunnel is one of great human drama, with heroes and villains, that illustrates how great things are accomplished, and at what price.
"When the Holland Tunnel opened in 1927, it was the worlds longest and largest vehicular tunnel and was distinguished by an innovative ventilation system. Until then, vehicles were ferried across the Hudson and were subject to the vicissitudes of ice and fog. In "Highway Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland Tunnel (NYU Press), Robert W. Jackson explores the tortured bistate bureaucratic and political prelude to the construction of the 1.6-mile underwater corridor, which, by the way, was named not for the regions Dutch roots, but for the projects first chief engineer, Clifford Holland of Brooklyn, who died at 41 of heart failure in a sanitarium while undergoing a tonsillectomy." -Sam Roberts, The New York Times
,"Jackson has excavated a vast amount of information, bringing this authoritative history of a ground-breaking tunnel to life." Publishers Weekly
"His vivid account features a colorful cast of characters...An important work chronicling a largely unsung American engineering feat...it remains a compelling story that serves as a dramatic reminder that government can accomplish great things that the private sector cannot." LJ
"Robert Jackson has skillfully captured the political intrigue, technological challenge, and human drama associated with turning a dream into a reality. " Henry Petroski, A. S. Vesic, author of The Essential Engineer "Tells a truly engaging story about a great engineering project....Robert Jackson has skilfully captured the political intrigue, technological challenge, and human drama associated with turning a dream into a reality. " Henry Petroski, A. S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University; author of The Essential Engineer
"Robert Jackson has given us a terrific story--replete with important engineering challenges and men who braved the odds--and sometimes died --in building the Holland Tunnel. Jameson W. Doig, Research Professor in Government, Dartmouth College; author of Empire on the Hudson