The following document is the foreword to the Joint Study of Arterial Facilities, which was developed in January 1955 by The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in conjunction with The Port of New York Authority. It was written by Robert Moses, chairman of the Joint Study.

Joint Study provided the blueprint for the next stage of bridge and expressway development in the New York metropolitan area. It recommended construction of the Verrazano-Narrows and Throgs Neck Bridges, as well as the lower deck of the George Washington Bridge. In addition, construction plans for a number of new expressways, as well as those for extending existing expressways, were specifically outlined in the Joint Study. Some facilities mentioned in the Joint Study, such as the "fourth Hudson River crossing" at 125th Street, the Lower Manhattan Expressway and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway, were left unbuilt.

This 1955 photo shows the Van Wyck Expressway, just south of the Kew Gardens interchange. The Joint Study of Arterial Facilities and subsequent studies called for a massive expansion of New York's expressway and parkway network. (Photo by Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographers.)


The unprecedented increase in the ownership and use of automobiles, trucks and buses since the end of World War II has forced accelerated nationwide planning and construction of our arterial highway systems. Throughout the country vast networks of multi-lane expressways, parkways and turnpikes are being planned and constructed for the safe and efficient accommodation of the nearly 60,000,000 vehicles which today play an indispensable role in the American economy. The accelerated program of highway construction that is being submitted to Congress by the President and which has been approved by the Governors' Conference, is graphic evidence of the urgent necessity of bold highway planning in any program for the continuance of American prosperity.

Transportation by motor vehicle of both freight and passengers is essential to the business and industrial activity of the New Jersey-New York Port District. Both The Port of New York Authority and The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority are particularly responsible for the planning and development of adequate highway connections between the various sectors of this bi-state region, the center of world commerce and transportation.

The rapidly growing residential, business and industrial communities in the Northern New Jersey counties, Long Island and Westchester must have convenient arterial highway communications with each other and with the boroughs of New York City. At the same time, it is imperative that trans-metropolitan vehicular traffic be served by trans-Hudson, Upper New York Bay and East River facilities that will permit this through traffic to move north and south of Manhattan's congested area, or be carried across the island by way of express routes.

The volume of trans-Hudson traffic is such that both the Holland Tunnel and the Lincoln Tunnel are now operating at an overload and the capacity of the George Washington Bridge has nearly been reached. For the past fifteen years, traffic on the Hudson River crossings has been growing at an average rate of five percent annually. During the past five years, however, the annual rate of growth has been nine percent. Trans-Hudson traffic in 1954 totaled 76,300,000. Our consultants estimate that by 1960 there will be a demand for the accommodation of about 91,000,000 interstate vehicles annually. This will overload the Holland Tunnel, the three-tube Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge.

The Nyack-Tarrytown (Tappan Zee) Bridge of the New York State Thruway, to be opened in 1955, is expected to provide only a limited degree of relief for this traffic. The third tube of the Lincoln Tunnel will be opened in 1957 to augment the two existing tubes, but the entire tunnel is expected to be used to its capacity before 1960. Additional trans-Hudson capacity must be provided to accommodate growing traffic volume.

In accommodating East River traffic in 1954, the Triborough and Bronx-Whitestone Bridges handled more than 64,000,000 vehicles between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, and Long Island with its rapidly expanding population. These two East River bridges also require early relief to meet the increasing traffic demands of the metropolitan region.


In recognition of these facts, The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and The Port of New York Authority in February 1954 initiated a Joint Study of important links in the arterial highway system of the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area. In this Joint Study, on which this report is based, the two governmental agencies have had the assistance of outstanding consultants, public officials in both states, and many organizations and individuals. We believe that the Joint Study and report represent an important forward step in cooperative planning for the region's future highway transportation.

Artist's rendition of the Throgs Neck Bridge, as shown in the 1955 Joint Study. The final design for the bridge was modified from this rendition. (Photo by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.)


The facts disclosed by the Joint Study indicate that it is imperative that the two public Authorities as well as the appropriate Federal, State, County and Municipal agencies proceed immediately to provide certain major arterial improvements to accommodate the existing and anticipated traffic demands. Under the statutes that created them, the two Authorities are limited to the financing and construction of metropolitan arterial systems that can ultimately be made self-supporting on the basis of revenue bond financing.

At present, the Port Authority's credit position is such that it can borrow the capital funds necessary to construct the (Verrazano) Narrows Bridge and the improvements to the George Washington Bridge and approaches as hereafter recommended. The Triborough Authority, however, has a more limited capacity for expansion and would not be in a position to undertake the Narrows Bridge for an estimated ten years. The joint proposal would advance the construction of this vital facility by a decade.

Based upon the findings and conclusions of the Joint Study, the Triborough Authority and the Port Authority recommend and are prepared to proceed with the construction of bridge facilities that will call for the expenditure of approximately $379,000,000 by the two Authorities over the next five years. If the necessary Federal, State and local approvals are granted without delay, the Bridge projects will be available to traffic by January 1, 1960.

It is our considered judgement that the following recommended facilities are essential to the continued growth and prosperity of the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan area.

NARROWS BRIDGE: A double-deck, twelve-lane suspension bridge across the Narrows joining Staten Island at Fort Wadsworth and Brooklyn at Fort Hamilton.

The Narrows Bridge and its immediate approaches would cost about $204,000,000 for the first stage of construction and $16,000,000 more to complete. This project would be financed and built by the Port Authority and leased for operation and maintenance to the Triborough Authority. Under the agreement between the two agencies, Triborough would purchase the Bridge from the Port Authority sometime prior to 1969 by repaying the Port Authority all of its costs in connection with the project.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE: A six-lane lower deck on the George Washington Bridge.

A lower deck would be added to the George Washington Bridge to provide six more traffic lanes. The original design of the Bridge permits this addition. Certain structural reinforcement would be incorporated to provide for the possible conversion of two vehicular lanes to accommodate rapid transit facilities on the lower deck. The George Washington Bridge improvement, including immediate approaches, would cost about $82,000,000 and would be financed, built and operated by the Port Authority.

The new Manhattan approaches are planned to permit a new interstate bus terminal to be built east of Fort Washington Avenue.

THROGS NECK BRIDGE: A single-deck, six-lane suspension bridge across the East River at Throgs Neck between Fort Schuyler in the Bronx and Cryders Point on the west shore of Little Bay in Queens.

The Throgs Neck Bridge and immediate approaches would cost about $93,000,000 and would be financed, built and operated by the Triborough Authority.


Future traffic volumes, as forecast by our consultants in the Joint Study, may demand a fourth crossing of the Hudson River within the next ten years. The traffic generating strength of the northern tier of counties (Bergen, Passaic and Rockland west of the Hudson; and the Bronx, Westchester, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk to the east) indicate the a new crossing of the Hudson should be located at a point north of Manhattan's Central Park.

Under the Joint Study, close attention was given to a new bridge in the vicinity of 125th Street, Manhattan. Traffic to be accommodated by such a new major Hudson River crossing, however, would require extensive and costly expressway facilities in Bergen County and across northern Manhattan, and extensive connections through Queens and on Long Island. It would also call for expensive new Harlem River and East River crossings.

We therefore recommend that further consideration of a fourth major Hudson River crossing be deferred until the George Washington Bridge, Narrows Bridge and Throgs Neck Bridge projects have been completed and the traffic patterns at that time can be studied.


Manhattan Crosstown Expressway plans, which have been before the public for almost a decade, have been restudied as part of the Joint Study.

A six-lane elevated Midtown Expressway in the block between 29th and 30th Streets could connect the Lincoln Tunnel and West Side Highway with the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the East River (FDR) Drive. Access could be provided at several intermediate points.

The cost of this expressway, including real estate, would be about $77,000,000. If provision were made for construction of overhead industrial, commercial and office buildings as well as subsurface basement areas, the expressway construction cost would be increased by approximately $14,000,000. Such air right and subsurface development might yield sufficient annual revenues to compensate the City of New York for the loss of tax revenues from the present improvements. The revenues, however, would not be sufficient also to support more than a nominal part of the cost of constructing the expressway.

A four-lane, two-tube crosstown tunnel with similar terminal connections in this same general Midtown location would cost about $119,000,000 including real estate. If intermediate access to the tunnel in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue were provided, the total cost of the tunnel would be approximately $145,000,000.

An eight-lane elevated Lower Manhattan Expressway could connect the West Side Highway and the Holland Tunnel with the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. This expressway would cost about $72,000,000 including real estate.

The construction of these crosstown expressways could not be financed on any self-supporting basis and would therefore depend mainly upon Federal and State aid.


The Joint Study included a survey of possible sites in New Jersey for peripheral parking areas which could be served by privately operated express bus service to Manhattan. One, in North Bergen adjacent to the Lincoln Tunnel approach, is being recommended to the Legislatures. The Joint Study indicated four additional sites which could be considered for future development.


The many public responsibilities involved in the recommended program include the relocation of families to new homes from properties acquired for the approaches and connecting highways. Every effort would be made to assure the least possible personal hardship.


The program of Hudson River crossing facilities proposed in this report is not to be considered as in any way a substitute for a program of improving rail passenger facilities between New Jersey and Manhattan. One program is not an alternative for the other. Vehicular traffic studies show that if facilities for bringing New Jersey passengers to Manhattan by rail were effectively improved, the number of trans-Hudson automobile passengers who would be attracted would be relatively small and the amount of traffic on Manhattan's congested streets during rush hours would not be reduced to a noticeable degree. The private automobile into and out of Manhattan presents negligible competition to mass transportation.


The recommended Bridge projects and approaches have been and will continue to be the subject of the most thorough discussion by the Port Authority and the Triborough Authority with Federal, State and local officials, as well as civic and private groups and individuals. Appropriate legislation will be recommended in New York and New Jersey to permit the construction of these new Bridge projects. In addition, we will make every effort to support the appropriate governmental agencies in obtaining the Federal assistance indispensable to the completion of the program.