American Society of Civil Engineers

Practical Proposal for Restoring Manhattan’s West Side Highway

by Robert Moses, Hon.M.ASCE, (Consultant, Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority, New York, N.Y.)

Civil Engineering—ASCE
, Vol. 45, No. 11, November 1975, pp. 49-50

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: New York City’s West Side Highway is an elevated roadway running along the west edge of Manhattan, adjacent to the once booming piers along the Hudson River. When opened in the 1920’s, it was an engineering marvel, helping to unsnarl the tangle of private cars and cargo-carrying trucks in the busy pier areas. But in the 50 years since, inadequate maintenance (e.g. failure to clean roadway drains and paint steel) and deicing salts have brought about deterioration of the roadway surface, and worse, severe corrosion of much of the structural steel supporting the highway. Nearly two years ago, highly corroded structural steel let go under the weight of a heavy truck, a whole section of the roadway and the truck plunging to the street 14 ft below. Presently, long stretches of the elevated roadway are closed. Recently a multi-million dollar replacement road was proposed. But with the city in a financial pinch, rehabilitation—and even removing the elevated roadway in some sections and using an on-grade road—looks like the best bet.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Highway and road management
New York City