archive and special collections, college of staten island, cuny
title: arches of steel, image of verrazano narrows bridge

| home | the narrows | from transportation asset to barrier | winning support for the bridge |
| construction | dedication | assessment | image gallery | bibliography | credits |

WINNING SUPPORT FOR A BRIDGE

After the failure of Steinman’s plan, the New York City Board of Transportation began advocating for the bridging of the Narrows in 1929. The Great Depression delayed any action. Years later, in 1945, the “Master Plan for Arterial Highways and Major Streets (New York City Planning Commission) issued while LaGuardia was mayor, included a Narrows crossing. However, without adequate funding the plan did not progress.

Robert Moses, devoted to his plan for a circumferential highway system for New York City to ease traffic in Manhattan, turned his attention to the Narrows in the mid-1940s. As chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), he funded a tunnel feasibility study, but quickly decided that a bridge was the most effective crossing.

In the past, the U.S. Department of the Army, for national defense reasons, had opposed the idea of a bridge over the Narrows. The Army feared the bridge would not provide enough clearance for military vessels and also thought an enemy could block the harbor by destroying a bridge. By 1949, Moses had convinced them otherwise.

The creation of plans and the elegant design work of Othmar Amman took years, as did efforts to build political support for the project, but by 1957 the plans were in place and the New York state legislature had granted approval. However, Robert Moses still faced one more challenge: getting the approval of the Army for easements through Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Finally, after two years of negotiations and the promise of $24 million for new construction on other Army property, the approval was granted.

Financing the Bridge

The Triborough Bridge Authority issued three public Verrazano-Narrows Bridge bond issues of $100,000 each.

1st Series: April 18, 1960, Average cost: 4.0334%
2nd Series: November 8, 1961, Average cost: 3.7683%
3rd Series: February 14, 1963, Average cost: 3.3918%

 

| home | the narrows | from transportation asset to barrier | winning support for the bridge |
| construction | dedication | assessment | image gallery | bibliography | credits |

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