1883: The World Debut of a Renowned Civil Engineer

March 13, 1883

Civil engineer Clifford Milburn Holland was born in the town of Somerset, Massachusetts. His career would encompass construction on several tunnels in and around New York City. His crowning achievement when it came to those tunnels involved the one that now bears his name: the Holland Tunnel, which was built under the Hudson River and serves as a key link between the island of Manhattan and Jersey City, New Jersey. 

Holland became chief engineer for that tunnel project in 1919, and work on building the structure began the following year. Holland’s design for this tunnel is notable because it successfully addressed the then-new and vexing problem of noxious gases from internal combustion engines within that structure that could asphyxiate those traveling through there. Holland’s solution was to install an innovative ventilation system for the tunnel that supplied fresh air and drove out fumes at regular intervals. 

Unfortunately, however, Holland did not live to see this tunnel completed. He died on October 27, 1924, at the age of 41 — only one day before construction crews from each side of the tunnel met up with each other. This tunnel was officially opened to motor vehicle traffic three years later.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on Clifford Milburn Holland, please check out https://www.asce.org/about-civil-engineering/history-and-heritage/notable-civil-engineers/clifford-milburn-holland

Additional information on the Holland Tunnel is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Tunnel

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