This 2004 photo shows the Throgs Neck Expressway (I-695) facing south from the Lafayette Avenue overpass in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. The towers of the Throgs Neck Bridge (I-295) loom in the distance. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)
THE ORIGIN OF "THROGGS" NECK: Actually, the man for whom the southeast Bronx community was named after went by the name "Throckmorton." In 1631, John Throckmorton and his wife, Rebecca, sailed from England with Roger Williams and seventeen other passengers aboard the "Lyon" and arrived in John Winthrop's colony in Massachusetts. Because of religious persecution in Massachusetts, Throckmorton moved with Williams to Rhode Island to form a new colony based on religious tolerance.
Fearing imminent invasion by the Massachusetts colony, Throckmorton fled to the southeast Bronx in 1642. With the permission of the Dutch governor of New York, Throckmorton started his colony with 35 families. However, due to an Indian uprising, the colony only lasted one year.
According to Robert Throckmorton, a direct descendent of the first settler, the Old English origin of "Throckmorton, derives from "throgg" (note the two G's), which meant drain. The next element of the name was "mere," which was another name for a pond, and "ton, " which became known as town.
The community was officially named "Throggs Neck" until the 1950's, when plans were made for a new bridge and expressway approaches. Nevertheless, many long-time residents are unwilling to give up on this piece of Bronx history.
CONNECTING THE THROGS NECK BRIDGE WITH NEW ENGLAND: The Throgs Neck Expressway serves as a link between the Bruckner Expressway - New England Thruway (I-95) and the Cross Bronx Expressway Extension (I-295) approach to the Throgs Neck Bridge in the southeast Bronx. Although it is just over one mile long, the six-lane expressway is an important link for traffic between Long Island and New England.
Plans for the expressway were outlined in the 1955 Joint Study of Arterial Facilities chaired by Robert Moses as follows:
The proposed Throgs Neck Bridge would connect with Throgs Neck and Bruckner Boulevards, which the State of New York is planning to improve and expand to expressway standards. These expressways will connect with the New England Thruway, which is now under construction.
Completed in 1961 at a cost of $16 million, the Throgs Neck Expressway was constructed with six 12-foot-wide lanes separated by a steel guardrail. A 10-foot-wide breakdown shoulder is provided along the entire length of the expressway.
DIFFERENT INTERSTATE DESIGNATIONS OVER THE YEARS: In the years since it was included in the Federal-aid highway program, the Throgs Neck Expressway had a number of different Interstate designations. These designations were as follows:
June 1958 to December 1958: I-495 for its entire length; the I-495 designation was to connect I-95 in the Bronx with the Long Island Expressway via the Throgs Neck Bridge. At this time, the Long Island Expressway east of the Clearview Expressway was designated NY 24, while the Clearview Expressway was I-78 south of the LIE.
December 1958 to 1971: I-78 (this was one of the I-78 spurs off the Throgs Neck Bridge in the Bronx); the designation continued south into Queens along the Clearview Expressway.
1971 to 1986: I-295 (this was one of the I-295 spurs off the Throgs Neck Bridge in the Bronx).
1986 to present: The Throgs Neck Expressway received the I-695 designation, while the Cross Bronx Expressway Extension kept the I-295 designation.
However, as Mike Moroney explains in the following misc.transport.road post, the I-695 designation is not officially recognized:
I-695 (Throgs Neck Expressway): Bruckner Expressway (I-95) to Cross Bronx Expressway (I 295), Bronx County. Route shields for this highway are in place. However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) does not recognize this as an official interstate highway, but rather as a sub-section of I-295.
MODERNIZATION EFFORTS: During 1999 and 2000, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) carried out a substantial rehabilitation project along the length of the Throgs Neck Expressway. The work, which was part of the much larger $155 million "Bruckner interchange" reconstruction project, included repaving the I-695 mainline and ramps, constructing new drainage and electrical systems, and installing new guardrails and signs. In addition, several bridges were reconstructed, including bridge carrying the southbound lanes of I-695 over the northbound lanes of I-295 (just north of the Throgs Neck Bridge toll plaza). While construction was underway, the expressway, which carries approximately 55,000 vehicles per day (AADT), remained open to traffic.
This 2004 photo shows a nearly empty Throgs Neck Expressway (I-695) facing north from the Randall Avenue overpass. The expressway was rebuilt during 1999 and 2000. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)
SOURCES: Joint Study of Arterial Facilities, The Port of New York Authority and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (1955); "Span Approaches Approved by City" by Charles G. Bennett, The New York Times (6/20/1957); "Throgs Neck Bridge Is Opening Today" by Robert Conley, The New York Times (1/11/1961); Arterial Progress 1959-1965, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (1965); The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro, Vintage Books-Random House (1974); "Throggs With 2 G's Preferred By Pre-1960 Throggs Neckers" by Bill Twomey, The Bronx Times-Reporter (6/22/1995); New York State Department of Transportation; Ralph Herman; Mike Moroney; Jeff Saltzman; Stephen Summers; Kevin Walsh.
I-695 shield by Ralph Herman. Lightpost by Jeff Saltzman.