Manhattan is about to get a little more crowded on the weekend.
New Jersey residents are one step closer to getting a new, mile-long tunnel linking them to Manhattan.
NJ Transit's board on Wednesday unanimously approved the first tunneling contract for an $8.7 billion rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan.
The project is known as Access to the Region's Core, or ARC. It's expected it will double train capacity into and out of Manhattan by adding two single-track tunnels under the Hudson River.
Barnard Construction Co. of Pompton Plains and Judlau Contracting of New York will be paid $583 million to dig the tube.
Gov. Jon Corzine called the project "an engine for growth" that will create thousands of jobs.
The soon-to-begin construction is the biggest public works project in the country, The New York Times reported. It will stretch from the west side of the New Jersey Palisades to a station under 34th Street, near Herald Square.
The project has some detractors, who balk at the cost of the project. Several speakers at today's transit meeting said they fear that paying for the project will mean fare and toll hikes for commuters.