Top 5 Longest Tunnels in the United States: Engineering Marvels Unveiled

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Tunnels, from the Gotthard Base Tunnel in the Swiss Alps to the Channel Tunnel beneath the English Channel, are a testament to human ambition and engineering prowess. The United States boasts its share of tunnel marvels, from the Eisenhower Tunnel in the Rocky Mountains to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel, cutting beneath the Continental Divide.

Here are the top five longest tunnels in the U.S.:

5. Baltimore Harbor Tunnel

longest tunnels in us traffic jam in tunnel

Before the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, Baltimore’s streets bore the brunt of traffic between the city and the south side of Philadelphia. This congestion was once dubbed Baltimore “the worst city in the United States” regarding traffic. However, constructing this tunnel was a significant step in alleviating the traffic woes. With an impressive ventilation system to remove exhaust fumes and construction work likened to parts of the 85-mile Channel Tunnel that connects the United Kingdom and Northern France, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel emerged as an engineering marvel. At 7,392 feet long, it is also the longest underwater vehicular tunnel globally.

4. The Ted Williams Tunnel

longest tunnels in us traffic empty 3 lane tunnel
National Geographic

As a significant component of Boston’s “Big Dig,” the Ted Williams Tunnel connects South Boston with East Boston and Logan Airport. Reminiscent of the Seikan Tunnel in its construction challenges beneath the Tsugaru Strait, the Ted Williams Tunnel stretches 8,500 feet. Its construction was fraught with issues, much like the debates surrounding the creation of the Guadarrama Tunnel in Southern Europe, which cuts through the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range.

3.) Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel

longest tunnels in us traffic brooklyn borough

Regarded as the longest tunnel in North America, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was an ambitious feat before the inception of tunnels like the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel or the Zhongnanshan Tunnel. This tunnel, connecting South Brooklyn and Manhattan, has always been a source of pride for New York. The tunnel’s design is reminiscent of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel, ensuring consistent air circulation and maximum safety.

2. Eisenhower Tunnel

longest tunnels in us traffic cars entering mountainside tunnel
Lucky Mountain Home

Nestled within the Colorado Rocky Mountains and resembling the intricacies of the new Guanjiao Tunnel, the Eisenhower Tunnel stands as a beacon of engineering triumph. It boasts the title of the highest vehicular tunnel, with an average elevation that overshadows even the long tunnel designs of the Yamate Tunnel in Tokyo Bay. Stretching across two watersheds and the Continental Divide, its construction journey echoes the challenges faced during the Lærdal Tunnel’s creation in Western Norway.

1. Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel

longest tunnels in us dimly lit railway tunnel
Anchorage Daily News

This tunnel, set deep within Alaska’s wilderness, takes the crown for North America’s longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel. The dual-rail tunnel design is reminiscent of the Delaware Aqueduct that serves New York City. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel’s design ensures it can withstand the extreme cold, similar to parts of the world’s longest tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, that traverses the chilly Swiss Alps.

From these tunnels to others like the Whittier Tunnel, which merges the innovations seen in the Jinpingshan Tunnel and the Laerdal Tunnel in Norway, the United States tunnels are a marvel. Whether you’ve driven through these or taken a train journey across the Channel Tunnel, the magic of tunneling is undeniably fascinating.

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Do you like driving through long tunnels? Have you ever traveled through any of these longest tunnels in the U.S.? Let us know in the comments.