Work is currently under way to repair the aging Lincoln Tunnel "Helix," including overnight closures on this critical link between New York and New Jersey that will last for about a year.
Lincoln Tunnel, New Jersey side approach and the Helix, circa 1955.
The Lincoln Tunnel is one of the busiest crossings in the world, carrying over 40 million vehicles per year. The Helix, which resembles a corkscrew dug straight into the earth, is about 74 years old. This 360-degree spiral funnels tens of millions of drivers each year into the mile-and-a-half long tubes leading from Weekhawken, N.J., to midtown Manhattan.
The roadway is need of many repairs. As the New Jersey Star-Ledger puts it,
"There are so many craters, Buzz Aldrin would feel at home on it. The concrete median barrier is crumbling like a chocolate chip cookie."
About one year ago, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved extensive, three-year-long construction project to repair the Lincoln Tunnel Route 495 roadway.
During an $88 million construction project on Route 495 East in Weehawken, sections of the concrete deck are being rehabilitated and the entire riding surface is being milled and repaved.
The Lincoln Tunnel Helix Rehabilitation Project began in March on the underside of the roadway, and the full project began in August. The roadway will be closed during off-peak, nighttime hours for the next three years until the project is complete.
Port Authority officials are urging drivers to seek alternate routes.
"The Port Authority is committed to keeping this important public infrastructure operational and in good repair," says the Port Authority's website. "Performing work at a time when traffic is at its lightest will cause the least impact to most commuters, workers, travelers, and businesses. Since the tunnel roadway undergoes heavy traffic use during the daytime, the roadway repairs will be conducted during overnight hours."