Have you ever driven through the Holland Tunnel and wondered how in the world – given all the accumulated grit, grime and soot that exhausts from hundreds upon thousands of cars and trucks – the Port Authority manages to keep 87-year-old tile relatively spotless and white? When some of us can’t manage a few feet of kitchen backsplash or the tile in a shower stall?
Recently Portfolio paid a visit to the Holland Tunnel late one night to investigate. We rode shotgun in the back-up truck with GM Steve Bednarz behind two “brush trucks.” What we discovered was a dedicated and self-effacing overnight crew of General Maintainers, who don’t get much attention, but who, nevertheless, perform critically important jobs that most people in this region don’t even know exist during the wee hours of the morning.
They are among the ranks of unsung heroes of the Port Authority, some of whom left their homes and families behind when SuperStorm Sandy hit Port Authority’s facilities, and who worked round-the-clock to restore things back to normal: People like James Harris, Kevin Hines, Doug Hildebrandt, Nick Mascolo, Rob O’Keeffe, Hans Zamora and their boss, John Foye (no relation to Executive Director Pat Foye).
Watch these two short videos – first, as the boom on a specially outfitted truck slowly and dramatically extends to its full length to reveal heavy-duty brushes. Second, as two trucks working one behind the other makes the pass through one closed lane of the SOUTH TUNNEL of the Holland, soap is dispensed and 5,000 gallons of water are pushed across the ceiling and walls of the Holland — with one of the lowest clearances — which would be black in a week or so were it not regularly scrubbed. Four brushes are mounted on each truck, which cover the ten foot width of each lane.