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Going down under!

As the Erie Railroad continued to grow, so did the necessity of building more tracks to handle the train traffic. Soon the citizens of this area were dealing with having to cross 18 tracks in order to go to Pennsylvania. Many a car sat in long traffic jams in order to cross over the tracks safely. This left the leadership of Port Jervis to ask, ‘What can we do to eliminate this problem?’.

Well, in 1936 the railroad announced that there was a plan to eliminate the long traffic jams. Work crews would erect a trestle to hold the tracks while working on digging a tunnel under the trackbed. This construction would also remove two blocks of stores and businesses located on Pike Street.

It took the Erie construction crew a year to successfully create the Underpass.

After the construction was complete in 1937, these few stores were somewhat separated from the main business district, yet they still thrived. Photo courtesy of the Minisink Historical Society.

In June of 1937, a new era began with the formal cutting of the ribbon opening the tunnel for traffic. Mayor Wendell Phillips, members of the city council, the City engineer, and Erie Railroad officials rode on the Manhogomack Hook & Ladder fire truck through the tunnel, cutting the ribbon as they went.

This feat of engineering eliminated the traffic tie-ups and allowed for safe travel to Pennsylvania and beyond.

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Emil Merusi
Emil Merusi
06. Juni 2022

I remember falling asleep at a friends apartment on a Saturday night...I woke up with a start Sunday AM, and realized what happened. The apartment had no phone (1972) and there were no cell phones. Hmmm.. Quickest way to get to "southern Montague" (across from Dr. Coburn,s clinic).. 209! As I fired up my '68 HEMI Road Runner (4 speed), I got on E. Main, went to Pike St., turned left, and cruised down to eventually connect on Rt. 209. 3 lanes, the middle was for passing, and I needed to pass. When I got to the Underpass, there was the Mt. Carmel procession. Shut this noise monster off and wait...

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