The Lincoln Tunnel is a three-tube vehicular tunnel that connects Weehawken, NJ to midtown Manhattan. On the New Jersey side, it has connections to Routes 1 & 9, 3, and the New Jersey Turnpike. The tunnel itself is part of New Jersey Route 495. On the Manhattan side, the Lincoln Tunnel Expressway and Dyer Avenue connect the tunnel from West 30th Street to West 42nd Street.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey proposed a two-tube tunnel in 1930. The first tube (now the center tube) was opened in 1937 and served an underwhelming 1.8 million vehicles in its first year of operation. Traffic would pick up, and a second (now north) tube opened in 1945. Due to the suburban expansion after World War II, need for more ways in and out of Manhattan were needed. A new tunnel between 14th Street and Hoboken was considered, but ultimately a third (now south) tube was completed in 1957. To date, it is the world's only three-tube underwater vehicular tunnel and also the busiest, serving 20.9 million vehicles in 2001.

Its three tubes provide flexibility. With each tube having two lanes, it can offer three lanes in both directions (with the center tube being two-way), or a four-lane/two-lane configuration, depending on traffic patterns. Each tube is over 20 feet wide and quite spacious and should not be a problem to navigate unless you are claustrophobic.

The original tunnel cost $75 million to build and to date, the Port Authority has pumped over $630 million to expand and operate it.

It is an amazing engineering feat. Travelling through it never ceases to amaze me. While travelling over the Hudson on the GWB allows me to see the looming skyline or the Palisades, it's quite a thrill to go under the river and emerge in a completely different atmosphere. One is a gradual transition and the other is quite abrupt. If you are in the area, a trip through this (or the Holland Tunnel) would be a nice experience.

sources:
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, http://www.panynj.gov/tbt/ltmain.HTM

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