On Tuesday evening, July 14, a driver posted a video of water leaking into the Lincoln Tunnel, which runs under the Hudson River connecting Manhattan and Weehawken, New Jersey. According to Yahoo News, the video was initially posted by Anthony Consiglio on his Instagram story. It was later picked up by Twitter users.
In the video, Consiglio says, “Well, that’s concerning. I’m inside the Lincoln Tunnel, which is underwater. I’m pretty sure there’s a movie about this and everybody dies.”
Who has “Lincoln Tunnel leak” on their 2020 Bingo card? pic.twitter.com/381QfE29zC
— InMinivanHell (@inminivanhell) July 15, 2020
The Port Authority, which is responsible for the Lincoln Tunnel, posted a series of tweets on July 14 about emergency maintenance in the tunnel. They did not indicate if it was related to a possible leak. Heavy reached out to the Port Authority for more information about the video and a possible leak and was told that on July 14, there was “a rupture of a water main in a facility room in the Center Tube.” However, “it was fixed and the water was pumped out as designed.”
On the morning of July 16, one Twitter user wrote, “I just drove through the Lincoln Tunnel about an hour ago with no problem. Haven’t heard anything about a leak all morning. I don’t believe that video is current. Either that, or it’s not the Lincoln Tunnel.”
In a subsequent tweet, they added, “Apparently, this happened last night in the outbound tunnel (leaving Manhattan). It was repaired well before I drove through it earlier.”
The Lincoln Tunnel Was Built in the 1930s & Actually Sits Under the Riverbed, Not in the Water
The Lincoln Tunnel was built in the mid-1930s and the first tube, the center tube, opened to traffic on December 22, 1937. The north tube opened in 1945 and the south tube opened in 1957. The tunnel itself doesn’t rest in the water but was actually drilled through the Hudson riverbed.
In a 2017 article in the New York Times, professor Angus Kress Gillespie, who wrote a book about the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, said: “When I give a lecture, I am always asked, ‘Do the tunnels leak?’ Yes, they do.” However, he said the tunnels were designed to deal with water and leaks. He said the tunnel that drivers see is actually sitting inside a tube made of cast-iron sections. He said when there are leaks, the water pools at the bottom of the tube, well below the road, and is pumped out. He added, “They are constantly removing water.”
Gillespie also spoke about the most devastating incident in the Holland Tunnel’s history, when a carbon disulfide drum fell off a truck in 1949. It set off a reaction of fires and explosions in the tunnel. There were no casualties, but 66 people were injured and 600 feet of the tunnel walls and ceilings were destroyed, Gillespie said. Despite all this, the tunnel remained standing.
Many Social Media Users Expressed Concern at the Apparent Flooding
I rarely go into the city in a car, but the handful of times I've had to and end up in the Lincoln Tunnel — or any other tunnel that goes underwater… ya I'm looking at you Holland Tunnel — this too is my worst fear. https://t.co/iOETZvc9ZJ
— G.J. McCarthy (@gjmccarthy) July 16, 2020
One social media user said, “I’ve always had a bit of a fear & claustrophobia in underwater tunnels. This being 2020, my fears seem to have been justified.” Another said, “the lincoln tunnel flooding is probably my worst fear come true. will i ever drive through it again now? probably not.”
One post reads, “The Lincoln tunnel flooding is one of my top 5 nightmare scenarios. 2020 needs to calm down.” One user wrote, “Rode the Lincoln Tunnel into work every day for 3 years. I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of my worst fears and I would have exited my bus and made a run for it.”