Under the River with Horse and Cart
��An ambitious plan to solve New York's ferry congestion by subterranean roadways
��\S a means of relieving the ferry boats r\ that ply between Manhattan Island and the mainland two highway tunnels under the Hudson River, which will serve New York and New Jersey in practically the same way that the Blackwall and Rother- hithe tunnels under the Thames serve the city of London, have been pro- posed by the engineering firm which built the two Pennsylvania railroad tubes and the four Hud- son and Manhattan rail- road tubes. The plans are now being considered by the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Com- mission.
Despite the increasing number of larger and speedier ferry boats the problem of carrying wagons across New York's waters is no nearer solu- tion than it was years ago. The advent of the automobile has only served to make matters worse, until, at the present time, over-river traffic is in a state of chronic con- gestion. The delays in making deliveries are not only more frequent, but in some cases, particularly at certain times of the year, deliveries can not be made within any stated period at all. The under-river roadways, it is claimed, will eliminate all this.
A total of nineteen thousand six hundred and sixty vehicles crossed the Hudson River on ferries during the year 1913. Not more than two thousand of these vehicles used the ferries north of Twenty-third street. Most of the traffic is downtown. For this reason the proposed tunnels are to serve the congested district by starting from the New York side at Canal Street, practically given over to vehicular traffic as it is, and will enter New Jersey at Twelfth Street, Jersey City.
���The districts which the proposed tunnels will serve. The total length will be eight thousand three hundred and fifty feet
��The total length of the tunnels will be eight thousand three hundred and fifty feet, and at their lowest point they will be eighty-nine feet below the surface of the Hudson River. The rise to the surface on the Manhattan side will be on a grade of 3.7 per cent and the grade on the New Jersey side will be 3.0 per cent. The grades below the river will be 0.5 and i per cent.
One tunnel will be for eastbound traffic and the other for westbound. The roadways will be approxi- mately seventeen feet in width. The engineers figure that the two tun- nels will have a capacity of five million vehicles a year. The Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels, each consisting of a single tube and providing for traffic in both directions in one tunnel, accommodated al- most one million vehicles in 1913, including auto- mobiles. There are tun- nels in Glasgow and Ham- burg with separate tubes for the traffic in each direction.
As will be seen in the illustration on the next page a ventilating duct of large capacity is provided beneath the roadway, with frequent openings leading to it. The engineers claim that the gases of com- bustion carried into the tunnel by the great variety of products transported from one side to the other, will settle to the floor and be drawn into the main ventilating conduit and so out of the tunnel. Whether this method of purifying the air will be finally carried out or not remains to be seen.
Powerful fans have also been suggested as the simplest means to keep the air pure. Another feature may include the provision of elevator shafts connecting the tunnels with the waterfront in addition to the inclined approaches.