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Holland Tunnel Essay

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Holland Tunnel

It has taken engineers thousands of years to perfect the art of digging tunnels. Today tunnels provide available space for cars and trains, water and sewage, even power and communication lines. However, before cars and trains, tunnels carried only water. The first to use tunnels on a major scale were the Romans. Roman engineers created the most extensive network of tunnels in the ancient world. The Romans built aqueducts to carry water from mountain springs to cities and villages; however, in many instances there were obstacles, such as rock formations, in between the spring and the city of interest. To solve these problems the Romans built tunnels by carving underground chambers and building elegant arch structures to
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However, there were drawbacks to a bridge crossing. A Hudson River bridge would require a minimum clearance of 200 feet for ships to travel to and from the Hudson River ports. Since the Manhattan side of the Hudson did not meet the 200-foot elevation requirement for a bridge, long approaches would have to be built on the New York side. Because the land that was required for these long approaches would require the purchase of very costly Manhattan real estate the bridge idea was rejected in favor of a tunnel.

There are three basic steps to building a stable tunnel. The first step is excavation: engineers dig through the earth with a reliable tool or technique. The second step is support: engineers must support any unstable ground around them while they dig. The final step is lining: engineers add the final touches, like the roadway and lights, when the tunnel is structurally sound.

Three main proposals were submitted for the Hudson river tunnel; The first proposal was a bi-level tunnel measuring 31 feet in diameter. The upper level, which was to carry slower vehicles, was to have an 18½-foot-wide roadway and a clearance of 12 feet, flanked by sidewalks measuring 4½ feet wide. The lower level, which was to be reserved for express vehicles, was to have a 16-foot-wide roadway and a nine-foot clearance. The second proposal which was presented by engineer George Goethals, who would eventually become chief engineer of the Port Authority, and have the
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