Cross Bronx Expressway

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Cross Bronx Expressway
Map of Cross Bronx Expressway
Map of the Bronx in New York City with Cross Bronx Expressway highlighted in red
Route information
Length6.5 mi[2][3] (10.5 km)
I-95 from Morris Heights to Throggs Neck
US 1 from Morris Heights to Tremont
I-295 in Throggs Neck
Major junctions
West end I-95 / US 1 in Morris Heights
Major intersections I-87 in Morris Heights
US 1 in Tremont
Bronx River Parkway in Soundview
I-95 / I-278 / I-295 / I-678 in Throggs Neck
East end I-295 in Throggs Neck
Highway system

The Cross Bronx Expressway is a major freeway in the New York City borough of the Bronx. It is mainly designated as part of Interstate 95 (I-95), but also includes portions of I-295 and U.S. Route 1 (US 1). The Cross Bronx begins at the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River, where the Trans-Manhattan Expressway continues west across Upper Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge. While I-95 leaves at the Bruckner Interchange in Throgs Neck, following the Bruckner Expressway and New England Thruway to Connecticut, the Cross Bronx Expressway continues east, carrying I-295 to the merge with the Throgs Neck Expressway near the Throgs Neck Bridge. Though the road goes primarily northwest-to-southeast, the nominal directions of all route numbers west of the Bruckner Interchange are aligned with the northbound route number going southeast, and the southbound route number going northwest.

The Cross Bronx Expressway was conceived by Robert Moses and built between 1948 and 1972. It was the first highway built through a crowded urban environment in the United States; the most expensive mile of road ever built to that point is part of the Cross Bronx, costing $40 million (equivalent to $386,434,783 in 2020). At one point during construction, Moses' crews had to support the Grand Concourse (a major surface thoroughfare), a subway line[a] and several elevated train lines[b] while the expressway was laboriously pushed through. The highway experiences severe traffic problems, and its construction has been blamed for negatively affecting a number of low-income neighborhoods in the South Bronx.[4]

Route description[edit]

A time-lapse video of a westbound trip on the Cross Bronx Expressway and adjacent highways

The Cross Bronx Expressway begins at the eastern end of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge as a continuation of the Trans-Manhattan Expressway and officially designated as both I-95 and US 1. Immediately after coming off the bridge, there is an interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) for Yankee Stadium and points upstate. The highway soon intersects with Webster Avenue at a partial interchange allowing eastbound vehicles to exit and westbound ones to enter. Northbound US 1 leaves the Cross Bronx Expressway at this exit. About one and half miles later comes a pair of closely spaced interchanges for New York State Route 895 (NY 895, Sheridan Boulevard) and the Bronx River Parkway. The exit for Sheridan Boulevard is an incomplete interchange and allows access from northbound and to southbound I-95 only.

The Cross Bronx Expressway reaches the Bruckner Interchange two miles (3 km) later. The service road is called East 177th Street between the Bronx River Parkway and the Bruckner Interchange.[5]

Going eastbound (I-95 northbound), the interchange allows access to southbound I-678, northbound I-95 (Bruckner Expressway) and southbound I-295. I-95 leaves the Cross Bronx Expressway here and continues north along the Bruckner Expressway. The Cross Bronx Expressway continues east of the interchange as I-295, which begins here. The Cross Bronx ends 1.5 miles (2.4 km) later at the Throgs Neck Expressway, where traffic from I-695 merges on toward the Throgs Neck Bridge.[6]


Eastward from Westchester Avenue

The 1929 Report on Highway Traffic Conditions and Proposed Traffic Relief Measures for the City of New York was the first citywide traffic study, classifying a number of projects that had been proposed by local interests. A "Cross-Bronx Route" along 161st and 163rd Streets was one of two proposed facilities, along with the "Nassau Boulevard" (which became the Long Island Expressway), picked by borough engineers as examples of important projects.[7] Although this routing was south of the present Cross Bronx Expressway, the report did suggest a "New Cross-Bronx Artery" near the present expressway that would link the Washington Bridge with the Clason Point Ferry to Queens. Though it would not be built to freeway standards, it would be 60 feet (18 m) wide with grade separations "where considered necessary and desirable." The George Washington Bridge, then under construction, was cited among reasons to build the highway which would help connect New Jersey to Long Island via the bridges and ferry.[8]

In 1936, the Regional Plan Association (RPA) proposed a cross-Bronx highway which would connect the George Washington, Triborough, and Bronx–Whitestone bridges, as well as access to points north to New England.[citation needed] In late 1940, the New York City Planning Commission adopted a plan for a network of highways. Except for the Bronx and Pelham Parkway, which lay to the north, no cross-Bronx highway had been built up to this point.[9] The report stated that the "Bronx Crosstown Highway", which would now connect on the east end to the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge (which had replaced the Clason Point Ferry), was "an essential part of a desirable highway pattern", taking traffic from the George Washington Bridge to Long Island and New England. The cost was estimated at $17 million, higher than most improvements because of the "topographical conditions, high land values, and heavily built-up areas".[10]

The Expressway traverses beneath Walton Avenue and Grand Concourse.

Robert Moses proposed a six-lane expressway to run through the middle of the Bronx in 1945. This project proved to be one of the most difficult expressway projects at the time; construction required blasting through ridges, crossing valleys and redirecting small rivers. In doing so, minimal disruption to the apartment buildings that topped the ridges in the area of Grand Concourse was a priority. Moreover, the expressway had to cross 113 streets, seven expressways and parkways (some of which were under construction), one subway line, five elevated lines, three commuter rail lines, and hundreds of utility, water and sewer lines, none of which could be interrupted.[11]

Construction of the expressway began in 1948.[12][13] A 112-foot open cut was carefully dug to accommodate six 12-foot-wide (3.7 m) traffic lanes and four 10-foot-wide (3.0 m) cobblestone shoulders. In 1963, the last of the three sections of roadway between the Alexander Hamilton and Throgs Neck Bridges were finished, completing the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Deegan interchange

The first portion, from the Bronx River Parkway east to the Bruckner Interchange, opened on November 5, 1955, at the same time as parts of the Queens Midtown and Major Deegan expressways.[1] When the Throgs Neck Bridge opened on January 11, 1961, the Cross Bronx was extended east as one of its two northern approaches.[14] (The extension was part of I-78 until 1970, when it became I-295, its current designation.) A one-mile (1.5 km) western extension to a temporary interchange with Boston Road opened on April 23, 1956,[15] and on April 27, 1960, another 1.2-mile (2 km) piece opened, taking the road west to Webster Avenue.[16] The short 0.6-mile (1 km) piece from Webster Avenue west to Jerome Avenue opened on February 10, 1961.[17] With the opening of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in April 1963, the $128 million Cross Bronx was completed.[18] This was not the end of construction; the $12.6 million Highbridge Interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) opened in November 1964,[19][20] and a $68 million reconstruction of the Bruckner Interchange, allowing Bruckner Expressway (I-95/I-278) traffic to bypass the old traffic circle, opened on January 2, 1972.[21][22] (Cross Bronx traffic passing through to the Throgs Neck Bridge had been able to avoid the circle, but drivers taking the Bruckner in either direction, including those bound for New England, had to exit onto the surface.)[23]

Urban decay and congestion[edit]


The Cross Bronx Expressway is blamed for worsening the decay of neighborhoods in the South Bronx, such as Tremont. In Robert Caro's The Power Broker, the author argues that Moses intentionally directed the expressway through this neighborhood, even though there was a more viable option only one block south.[24] Many of the neighborhoods it runs through have been continually poor since its construction, partly due to the lowered property value caused by the Expressway. This is partially responsible for the public opposition to many other planned expressways in New York City that were later cancelled – in particular, the Lower Manhattan Expressway,[25] and may have provided impetus to Jane Jacobs, an American expatriate, in her opposition to the Scarborough Expressway in Toronto. Architect Ronald Shiffman argues that the Cross Bronx Expressway "ripped through the heart of the Bronx, creating what was a wall between what eventually was known as the Northern and Southern part of the Bronx."[26]

The expressway is one of the main routes for shipping and transportation through New York City due to its connections with New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge, Long Island via the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges, Upstate New York via I-87 northbound and the Bronx River Parkway, Manhattan via I-87 southbound to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge or the Trans-Manhattan Expressway (extension of the Cross Bronx Expressway westward) and the Henry Hudson Parkway, and New England via the New England Thruway (I-95) and the Hutchinson River Parkway. As such, the expressway is also known for its extreme traffic problems; on a typical day, 175,000 vehicles travel on the Cross Bronx's six lanes. It is not uncommon for truckers to use the Cross-Westchester Expressway to the New York State Thruway and the Major Deegan Expressway to get around this stretch of I-95. Proposals have been made to make dedicated truck lanes, add express bus service, and build decking on the open trenches to allow for parks, although to no avail.[27] In both 2008 and 2007, Inrix cited the Cross Bronx Expressway's westbound exit 4B (Bronx River Parkway) as being the worst intersection in the United States. In 2008, the expressway's exits included three out of the top four on the list, and four of the top five in 2007.[28]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in the New York City borough of the Bronx

Harlem River0.000.00 I-95 south / US 1 south – George Washington Bridge, Newark, NJContinuation into Manhattan as the Trans-Manhattan Expressway
Alexander Hamilton Bridge
Morris Heights0.10–
1BAmsterdam AvenueSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; shared ramp with exits 1C-D
1C-D I-87 (Major Deegan Expressway) – Albany, Queens, Yankee StadiumSigned as exits 1C (south) and 1D (north)
0.801.292AJerome Avenue
Tunnel under Jennie Jerome Playground
Tremont1.282.062B US 1 north (Webster Avenue)Northern terminus of concurrency with US 1; northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.862.993Third AvenueSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
West Farms2.053.30Tunnel under East 176th Street
2.644.254A NY 895 south (Sheridan Boulevard) – RFK BridgeNo southbound exit; former I-895
Soundview3.004.834B Bronx River Parkway / Rosedale AvenueExit 4 on Bronx Parkway
5AWhite Plains Road / Westchester Avenue
Tunnel under Hugh J. Grant Circle
Castle Hill4.006.445BCastle Hill AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Throggs Neck4.507.246A I-678 south (Hutchinson River Expressway) – Whitestone Bridge, QueensEastbound exit and westbound entrance; exit 19 on I-678
4.707.566B I-95 north – New Haven, CTC.B.X. transitions from I-95 to I-295; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
12 I-278 west (Bruckner Expressway) – ManhattanWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; exit 54 on I-278
11Randall Avenue
I-695 north (Throgs Neck Expressway) to I-95 north – New Haven, CT
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; south end of I-695
6.8010.949Harding Avenue / Pennyfield Avenue
I-295 south (Throgs Neck Bridge) – Long IslandContinuation into Queens
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi



  1. ^ a b Ingraham, Joseph C. (November 4, 1955). "3 Highway Links Open Tomorrow". The New York Times. p. 4. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "2010 Traffic Volume Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. July 25, 2011. p. 151. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Google (January 9, 2016). "Cross Bronx Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Berman, Marshall. "All That is Solid Melts Into Air." New York: Penguin: 1988
  5. ^ "A Local Law in relation to renaming two thoroughfares and public places in the Borough of the Bronx, East 177th Street, and to amend the official map of the city of New York accordingly.". Act No. 2018-035 of January 11, 2018.
  6. ^ New York City Department of Transportation, Truck Routes, accessed November 2007: shows that the Cross Bronx Expressway Extension ends at the Throgs Neck Expressway, while the Throgs Neck Expressway continues to the Throgs Neck Bridge
  7. ^ "Call Traffic Study City Planning Aid". The New York Times. October 29, 1929. p. 32. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Harland Bartholomew, Report to the Honorable James J. Walker, Mayor, on Highway Traffic Conditions and Proposed Traffic Relief Measures for the City of New York, Day & Zimmermann, 1929, OCLC 35914068
  9. ^ New York City area (Map). H.M. Gousha Company. 1941. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "Pattern of Highways for the City as Proposed in Board's Master Plan". The New York Times. November 21, 1940. p. 39. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. OCLC 834874.
  12. ^ Sedensky, Matt (2001-10-07). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: BRONX UP CLOSE; Decades Later, Doing the Cross Bronx Expressway Right". The New York Times (in American English). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  13. ^ Feuer, Alan (2002-09-20). "Hell on Wheels, and Nerves; If Ever There Was a Mean Street, It's the Cross Bronx". The New York Times (in American English). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  14. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (January 1, 1961). "Around the Town: New York City's System of Bypasses Is Beginning to Take Shape". The New York Times. p. X17. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  15. ^ "Expressway Growing: Cross-Bronx Artery Will Be Extended a Mile Today". The New York Times. April 23, 1956. p. 29. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "Cross-Bronx Route to Add Section". The New York Times. April 25, 1960. p. 23. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  17. ^ "Cross Bronx Highway Link Ready". The New York Times. January 31, 1961. p. 13. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  18. ^ "New Bridge Completes L.I.-to-Jersey Bypass". The New York Times. April 14, 1963. p. 528. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  19. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (November 15, 1964). "New York Bypass: Narrows Bridge Adds More New Ways To Avoid City's Traffic Jams". The New York Times. p. XX1. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  20. ^ "Expressway Ramps Opening". The New York Times. November 19, 1964. p. 39. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  21. ^ Prial, Frank J. (December 21, 1972). "The Bruckner Interchange Open at Last". The New York Times. p. 40. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  22. ^ "Metropolitan Briefs". The New York Times. December 31, 1972. p. 36. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  23. ^ Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States, Canada and Mexico (Map). Rand McNally and Company. 1964.
  24. ^ Caro, Robert A. (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-48076-7.
  25. ^ Ric Burns, New York: A Documentary Film, episode 7, The American Experience, PBS Television, WNET New York and WGBH Boston, 1999.
  26. ^ "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City - BBC Four". BBC. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  27. ^ Anderson, Steve. "Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95, I-295 and US 1)". NYCRoads. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  28. ^ Bruner, Jon (February 25, 2009). "America's Worst Intersections". Forbes. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  29. ^ "Bronx County Inventory Listing" (CSV). New York State Department of Transportation. August 7, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2017.

External links[edit]

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