A Face-Lift for Lincoln

by Peter L. Rinaldi, (M.ASCE), Engrg. Program Mgr., Interstate Transp.; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,
Andrea Giorgi Bocker, (M.ASCE), Project Engr.; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 9, Pg. 62-64

Document Type: Feature article


The 45-year-old Lincoln Tunnel is undergoing a sweeping rehab—from its ceiling on down to its roadway. Each of the three tubes (in the world's only three-tube underwater vehicular tunnel) will be restored during this seven year program, which began in January 1990. The $27.8 million rehab on the north tube is complete and work on the others will follow sequentially. Job one during the rehab is keeping the tunnel in service as many hours per day as possible. As a result, the work was carried out on five consecutive weeknights per week between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. over two years. During those hours, traffic was rerouted to the other two tubes. Perhaps the most intriguing aspects of the north tube rehab was work done on the ceiling and the roadway. To protect the ceiling from overheight vehicles that elude the early warning detectors and damage the tiles, engineers opted to install a stainless steel ceiling at the entrance. The support steel and the anchors are able to transfer forces exerted by overheight vehicles to the tunnel roof slab. The steel ceiling height and slope are designed to trap these trucks before they reach the tiled ceiling. Down on the roadway, engineers had to modify the existing delaminated slab. The Port Authority removed the pavement and 3 in. concrete cover along with the top longitudinal reinforcing bar and replaced it with a waterproofing membrane and a 5½ in. asphalt pavement wearing course. This eliminated a top cover and longitudinal bars on the slab, thus reducing the total thickness of the slab by 3 in. Port Authority engineers chose this method for its cost savings and ease of construction benefits.

Subject Headings: Ceilings | Tunnels | Rehabilitation | Slabs | Highways and roads | Ports and harbors | Reinforced concrete | Bars (structure)

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