The Cross-Bronx Expressway
The six lane Cross-Bronx Expressway passes over, under, and around rail, sewer, and utility lines, 113 roads, a subway line, and seven highways, none of which could be disrupted during its construction (1948-63). The construction of the expressway proved such a difficult engineering problem that moving the Bronx River 500 feet to accommodate it was considered a minor project. Because of the great cost of acquiring properties along the proposed route, it was necessary for engineers to minimize their use of space as much as possible. The Fordham gneiss, the bedrock that underlies the Bronx, is particularly difficult to blast and it posed an additional challenge, since valuable properties on either side of the highway’s path could not be damaged during the blasting.
Each mile of the highway, according to the calculations of Arterial Coordinator Robert Moses (1888-1981), required the demolition of approximately 50 apartment buildings and the relocation of 5,000 people. The cost of compensating homeowners ran into the millions of dollars. For 40 years, Robert Moses served as the master builder of the City of New York. He played a primary role in the development of its parks, transportation, and housing. Beginning in 1924, he held a dozen city and state positions, many concurrently. Invested with this authority, Moses constructed 416 miles of highway, 13 bridges, 658 playgrounds, 17 miles of beach, 11 swimming pools, zoos, recreation centers, and ball fields, and more than doubled the city's park acreage to 34,673 acres.
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- The Cross-Bronx Expressway