SOHO, Manhattan (PIX11) — With 100,000 vehicles passing through it every day, the Holland Tunnel is one of the busiest automotive tunnels in the world. However, it won’t be busy at all when it will be shut down, outbound, overnight, six nights a week, for nearly three years.

Closures start in two-and-a-half weeks, the Port Authority announced. Many motorists are already complaining, even though the agency that operates the 95-year-old tunnel says that the shutdowns will make driving in it better and safer. 

“I don’t like it. It’s bad,” a van driver said, on his way into the tunnel, from Manhattan, “‘cuz it interferes with my job.”

“Oh my God,” said the driver of a maroon colored sedan as he, too, headed into the underwater and underground crossing into New Jersey. “Maybe hard days [are] coming.”

The specific days times of closure are: 

  • Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
  • Friday from 11:59 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. 

Saturdays will have no scheduled closures.

The outbound closures from the city will begin Feb. 5, and run through the end of 2025, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the tunnel. 

“It’s gonna congest everything,” said another driver on the Manhattan side of the tunnel, heading into it toward New Jersey. “Now you’re gonna have to go to the Lincoln, or the GWB.”

He was, of course, referring to the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel. The former is a hazmat vehicle route, and the latter is the busiest car tunnel in the world — with a 20 percent higher traffic volume than the tunnel that’s closing.

Marisol Rivera was standing next to her SUV near her home in Weekhawken, near the Lincoln Tunnel, when she described what the Holland Tunnel outbound closure will mean for her neighborhood and surrounding areas. 

“It’s going to be horrendous,” she said about the traffic expected to be diverted to the Lincoln Tunnel when the Holland shuts down. “It’s going to be horrible.”

Leticia Ayala, another resident of the neighborhood just outside of the Lincoln Tunnel’s New Jersey exit, said that she’s seen traffic increase over the 53 years she’s  lived here. 

“Now that the Holland Tunnel is gonna be closed, it’s gonna be worse,” she said, adding that the closures are happening a month after the tolls to use the tunnel increased, on Jan. 1. 

“Now, the prices went up?” she said. “I can’t believe it’s $17 just to go to the city. “

The general manager of the Holland Tunnel, Enrique Ramirez, said that the closures allow for badly needed improvements to infrastructure that was damaged a decade ago when brackish water entered the tunnel during Sandy.  

The Port Authority has targeted $364 million to rehabilitate the tunnel, and Ramirez is at the helm of that project. He said that the project will preserve the tunnel, and make the driving experience safer and better. 

“There’s a lot of steel repair work, [and] concrete repairs,” he said, describing the project in an interview, adding that the repairs are “above the roadway, under the roadway, [in] electrical systems, fire suppression systems.”

Those systems have been part of a rehabilitation project in the inbound tube of the Holland Tunnel since April 2020. That tube, from New Jersey to New York, had had overnight closures over those 33 months. It’s set to reopen fully, without closures, on Feb. 4.