Westbound Holland Tunnel to close six nights per week till 2025 for Sandy repairs

The Holland Tunnel’s New Jersey-bound tube will close six nights per week starting next month, the Port Authority announced Tuesday, in order to conduct critical repairs to infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Starting the evening of Feb. 5, the 95-year-old tunnel’s westbound tube will close from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights, and from 11:59 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday nights. Motorists will still be able to use the tunnel on Saturday nights to travel from Manhattan to New Jersey. The closures will remain in effect through 2025.

The nightly closures will commence as similar repairs end in the Manhattan-bound tube, which has been closed six nights weekly since April 2020. The eastbound tunnel will reopen to motorists seven nights per week on Feb. 4.

Like much of the city’s transportation infrastructure, the Holland Tunnel sustained severe, long-term damage during Hurricane Sandy, when it was inundated by 30 million gallons of brackish Hudson River water contaminated with briny storm surge.

The water’s salt content inflicted long-term damage to critical infrastructure supporting the underwater tunnel, including its steel skeleton, wall tiling, ventilation system, fiber optic cables, and fire suppression and detection systems, among other things, all of which are set for repair over the next two years.

The Port Authority will also take the opportunity to wash and remove salt residue from the roadway and tunnel signage, and will install flood barriers intend to make the tunnel more resilient to future storms.

Funding for the repair project was largely meted out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2017, with just shy of $230 million appropriated for the repairs.

For those motorists traveling overnight from the Big Apple to the Garden State, the Port Authority advises they get around the snag by using other crossings, like the Lincoln Tunnel or the George Washington Bridge. You can also travel through Staten Island via the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to reach the three New Jersey crossings there (Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing).

This is far from the first painful, long-term closure necessitated by Sandy’s mayhem. In the years following the storm, most of the subway’s East River tunnels were subject to painful partial or total closures to repair Sandy-related damage.

The most devastating damage was sustained by the Montague Tube, used by the R train, which was fully shut down for more than a year between 2013 and 2014 to repair extensive havoc wrought by the storm, causing major headaches for commuters. The G train also shut down completely for five weeks in the summer of 2014 for repairs on its Greenpoint Tube.

By the time it was the L train’s turn, intense anxiety over the closure led the MTA and then-Governor Andrew Cuomo to pursue alternative methods which ultimately prevented a full closure in 2019 and 2020.