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.
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.
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.
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.