Monday, October 12, 2020

interesting story of Holland Tunnel under Hudson river ! ~ naming !

More than 3 decades ago in Dec 1984, a 38 year old, an Engineering surveyor, debuted against a strong touring side  - this man went on to play only 11 tests taking 34 wickets but did considerable damage in two of them.  That was David Boon’s Test debut too  and turned out to be Kim Hughes’ last as Australian captain, an eight-wicket defeat prompting his resignation after Test cricket’s 999th match.  Identify this bowler ?  ~ not a Cricket post though !

Holland is a region!  and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Nederlands.  This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves.  During this tough Covid times, Holland has diagnosed a record 6,500 cases in the last 24 hours, after the country's Government warned it would be forced to impose tighter restrictions by the end of the weekend if infections did not start to drop. Officials issued the ultimatum to 17million Dutch citizens yesterday after shrugging off enforcement of face mask rules since the pandemic began and overseeing a dismally failing testing system. The country became a global virus hotspot on Friday. Its infection rate has surged to 160 cases per 100,000 people.  This post is about Holland Tunnel, which is not situate in Dutch land though !!


On the morning of Friday, May 13, 1949, a hazardous materials truck caught fire while passing through the Holland Tunnel,   One firefighter was killed and 66 civilians were injured as a result of the fire. The 1996 motion picture Daylight, starring Sylvester Stallone, was loosely based on this incident.  Following the Sept  11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the Holland Tunnel remained closed to all but emergency traffic for over a month, due to the Manhattan portal's proximity to the World Trade Center site.   In March 2002, before all of the post-9/11 restrictions were lifted, a warehouse fire near the eastbound tube's New Jersey portal caused the tunnel to be closed entirely for five days; the fire continued for over a week. 

Until the first decade of the 20th  century, passage across the lower Hudson River was possible only by ferry.  The first tunnels to be bored below the Hudson River were for railroad use. The Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (now PATH) constructed two pairs of tubes to link the major railroad terminals in New Jersey with Manhattan Island: the Uptown Hudson Tubes, which opened in 1908 and the Downtown Hudson Tubes, which opened in 1909. The Pennsylvania Railroad's twin North River Tunnels, constructed to serve the new Pennsylvania Station, opened in 1910. The construction of these three tunnels proved that tunneling under the Hudson River was feasible.  However, although train traffic was allowed to use the tunnel crossings, automotive traffic still had to be transported via ferry.

At the same time, freight traffic in the Port of New York and New Jersey was mostly carried on boats, but traffic had grown to such a point that the boats were at full capacity, and some freight started going to other ports in the United States. To alleviate this, officials proposed building a freight railroad tunnel, but this was blocked by the organized syndicates that held influence over much of the port's freight operations.  The public learned of the excessive traffic loads on existing boat routes, as well as the limited capacity of the H&M and North River Tunnels, when the surface of the Hudson River froze in winter 1917, and again when Pennsylvania Railroad workers went on strike in winter 1918.  One engineer suggested that three freight railroad tunnels would be cheaper to construct than one bridge.

The Holland Tunnel is a vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River. It connects Lower Manhattan in New York City to the east with Jersey City in New Jersey to the west. An integral conduit within the New York metropolitan area, the Holland Tunnel is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The tunnel carries Interstate 78; the New Jersey side is also designated the eastern terminus of Route 139. The Holland Tunnel is one of three vehicular crossings between Manhattan and New Jersey, the others being the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge.

The Holland Tunnel is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It consists of a pair of tubes with 29.5-foot (9.0 m) diameters, running roughly parallel to each other and 15 feet (4.6 m) apart underneath the Hudson River. The exteriors of each tube are composed of a series of cast iron rings, which, in turn, comprise 14 curved steel pieces, each of which is 6 feet (1.8 m) long. The steel rings, in turn, are covered by a 19-inch-thick (48 cm) layer of concrete. Most vehicles carrying hazmats, trucks with more than three axles, and vehicles carrying trailers cannot use the tunnel. There is a width limit of 8 feet (2.4 m) for vehicles entering the tunnel.

The Holland Tunnel was the first mechanically ventilated underwater vehicular tunnel in the world. It contains a system of vents that run transverse, or perpendicular, to the tubes. Each side of the Hudson River has two ventilation shaft buildings: one on land, and one in the river approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) from the respective shoreline. All of the ventilation buildings have buff brick facades with steel and reinforced-concrete frames.  The four ventilation towers contain a combined 84 fans. Of these, 42 are intake fans with varying capacities from 84,000 to 218,000 cubic feet (2,400 to 6,200 m3) per minute, while the other 42 are exhaust fans, which could blow between 87,500 and 227,000 cubic feet (2,480 and 6,430 m3) per minute.  The fans can replace all of the air inside the tunnel every 90 seconds. A forced ventilation system is essential because of the poisonous carbon monoxide component of automobile exhaust, which constituted a far greater percentage of exhaust gases before catalytic converters became prevalent.



The Holland Tunnel was originally known as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel or the Canal Street Tunnel. It was renamed the Holland Tunnel in memory of Clifford Milburn Holland, the chief engineer, following his sudden death in 1924 before the tunnel was opened.  The two ends of both tubes were scheduled to be "holed through", or connected to each other, at a ceremony on October 29, 1924, in which President Calvin Coolidge would have remotely set off an explosion to connect the two sides of the tunnel.  However, two days before the holing-through ceremony supposed to take place, Clifford Holland died of a heart attack at the sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, aged 41. Individuals cited in The New York Times attributed his death to the stress he endured overseeing the tunnel's construction. The ceremony was postponed out of respect for Holland's death.  The tunnel was ultimately holed through on October 29, but it was a nondescript event without any ceremony.  On November 12, 1924, the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel was renamed the Holland Tunnel by the two states' respective tunnel commissions. Holland was succeeded by Milton Harvey Freeman, who died of pneumonia in March 1925, after several months of heading the job. After Freeman's death, the position was occupied by Ole Singstad, who oversaw the completion of the tunnel.

Clifford Milburn Holland (1883 – 1924) was an American civil engineer who oversaw the construction of a number of subway and automobile tunnels in New York City, and for whom the Holland Tunnel is named.  He was not a Dutch though but  was born in Somerset, Massachusetts. He was the only child of Edward John Holland and Lydia Frances Hood. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in 1905 and a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1906.

It is Bob Holland mentioned in the starting para - who debuted after his 38th birthday.  At Sydney, it was to be the farewell test for Big Clive Lloyd – Alan Border was the new Captain, Aussies batted first.  Kepler Wessel’s 173 hoisted them to 471/9, Holland not required to bat and WI pacers  Marshall, Holding and Walsh going for more than 100 runs.  The powerful lineup of  Greenidge, Haynes, Richardson, Gomes, Richards, Lloyd, Dujon was bundled out for 163 – with Bob Holland taking 6/54 and Murray Bennet taking 2.   Border enforced the follow-on and the wicket continued to turn. This time, Bennett got Richards.  Holland made use of the conditions, bowling with control and variation, to take 4-90, giving him 10 wickets in the match.  

The Australians won by an innings and 55 runs.  He toured England the following winter, playing in four of the six Tests. He took 5-68 at Lord's. In Sydney the following summer, he bowled Australia to victory over New Zealand with another 10-wicket haul, in the series won by the Kiwis 2-1. He played last in January, 1986, against the Indians at the SCG. Gavaskar, Srikkanth and Armanath made centuries and the leg-spinner had  1-113 off 21 overs. The flamboyant Krishnamachari Srikkanth went after him, hitting 20 in a single over – which in those days was too much. That match in Jan 1986 ended in a draw.  Sunil Gavaskar and Krish Srikkanth had a partnership of 191 and the next wicket fell at 415 only. Aussies were all out for 396 with runrate of 2.20 per over; followed on and saved the match with score at 119/6 in 77 overs.  Srikkanth with  116 off 117 balls was the man of the match.   

Interesting to know of a Tunnel and the significance of its name !!  A groundbreaking for the Hudson River Tunnel's ventilation shaft, which marked the official start of construction on the tunnel, occurred this day, one hundred years ago !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12.10.2020.

 

  

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