Fifteen years ago this September, a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the pedestrian underpass that connects the residential quads with the main campus.
Colloquially known as “the tunnel,” the subterranean passage was built to eliminate vehicular and pedestrian conflict along Cedar Avenue, near the main gate. A study completed around the time of the tunnel’s construction indicated that more than 13,000 vehicles passed here in a single day.
Several design concepts were initially pitched, including one that called for a pedestrian bridge. But the underpass was chosen because it met standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowed campus maintenance vehicles to pass, and did not negatively impact the historic character of the campus.
The New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office provided input and approval during the design phase, which lasted 11 months. Material enhancements, including cast stone elements and marble, were chosen to directly reflect treatments from historic structures on campus.
Today, with its detailed architectural features and its inscription reading “Carpe Diem,” which students see each time they head from their dorms toward their classrooms and labs, the tunnel has become a beloved campus icon.