The Cross Harlem Expressway, as described in the 1955 Joint Study of Arterial Facilities by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and the Port of New York Authority, was to have been an elevated expressway connecting the Triborough Bridge with a proposed "Hudson River Crossing" to Edgewater, New Jersey. However, the project was ultimately deferred in favor of other Robert Moses projects such as the Throgs Neck and Verrazano-Narrows bridges.

From Robert A. Caro's The Power Broker:

The "Joint Program" (between the Port of New York Authority and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) was nothing more nor less than a business arrangement, with the businessman who could bring to the new partnership the most of the crucial material -- power -- getting the most out of it. The arrangements for the Narrows Bridge are one proof of this. Moses did not have the money to build the bridge he envisioned as his supreme monument. But he had the power to build it. The Port Authority was as anxious to see the Narrows Bridge built (it would feed into the PA's money-losing Goethals, Bayonne and Outerbridge spans between Staten Island and New Jersey), and the Port Authority had the money to build it. But it did not have the power. So under the "Joint Program," the Port Authority agreed to pay for construction of the bridge. The Triborough Authority would lease the great span from the Port Authority, operate it, maintain it, and control it absolutely. To get the Narrows Bridge built, the Port Authority had to give up another bridge that it had been anxious to build; it had to allocate for the Narrows span the money it had been planning to spend on the 125th Street span, and formally agree to "defer" that span indefinitely.

Despite this postponement, Moses pushed for the Cross Harlem Expressway throughout 1962 and 1963, calling the expressway a prerequisite for a future Hudson River span. In 1964, the Regional Plan Association included the route on its map of proposed expressways in the New York regional core. Still, there had been no major effort to place the Cross Harlem Expressway on the construction schedule. Two years later, the newly elected Mayor John Lindsay removed Moses from his post as New York City arterial coordinator, effectively killing the Cross Harlem Expressway.

SOURCES: Joint Study of Arterial Facilities, The Port Authority of New York-New Jersey and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (1955); "Expressway Plans," Regional Plan Association News (May 1964); The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro, Vintage Books-Random House (1974); Divided Highways by Tom Lewis, Viking-Penguin Books (1997); Six Bridges by Darl Rastorfer, Yale University Press (2000); Daniel T. Dey.

  • Lightpost by Jeff Saltzman.


Back to The Roads of Metro New York home page.

Site contents © by Eastern Roads. This is not an official site run by a government agency. Recommendations provided on this site are strictly those of the author and contributors, not of any government or corporate entity.