Lincoln Tunnel

Project Overview

The Ferry Terminal at Pier 79 on Manhattan’s west side was constructed just 60 feet above the three tubes of the Lincoln tunnel. The project involved driving of pipe & sheet piles for the new ferry terminal and docking facilities. Some of the pipe piles were driven within 15 feet of the tunnel. An early warning monitoring system was needed, but access to instruments would be difficult and costly if traditional monitoring stations were used. GEO-Instruments provided an innovative, cost-effective solution with wireless data retrieval and real-time monitoring via the web

The Port Authority of NY&NJ and the consulting engineer, Langan Engineering, were concerned about damage to the tunnels during construction. They wanted a monitoring system to provide early warning of potential damage so that construction procedures could be modified, if necessary.

The Challenge

The monitoring system was to include piezometers, crackmeters, and vibration monitors in the tunnels and vent buildings. Implementation of the system would be difficult. The tunnels were active and did not lend themselves to traditional manned monitoring stations, due to safety, cost, and logistic issues.

The Solution

To address these issues, GEO-Instruments suggested that the monitoring stations be linked to the internet wirelessly, and offered a real-time interface using IP wireless modems. This approach provided unlimited access to data during construction, without the delay, or costs of field visits to collect data manually.

The installed system used four automated vibration monitors to record vibration due to pile driving, twelve VW crackmeters to monitor structural displacements, twelve piezometers to monitor in pore pressures, and three data loggers with IP modems. An offsite computer retrieved data using the IP addresses of the modems and then processed and posted the data to project web site. The web site provided real time display, reporting, alarm notifications, and data archiving.

The Result

The monitoring system successfully implemented the early warning system specified and saved the owner countless man-hours in monitoring costs.

Lincoln Tunnel Traffic

More than 100,000 vehicles pass through Lincoln Tunnel every day.

Lincoln Tunnel Screen Shot

GEO-Instruments installed a real-time, web-based monitoring system. Although the graphical interface looks dated now, it was state-of-the-art at the time.


The completed ferry building.