Trans-Manhattan Expressway

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Interstate 95 marker U.S. Route 1 marker

Trans-Manhattan Expressway
Route information
Maintained by NYC DOT
Length1.0 mi[1] (1.6 km)
Major junctions
West end I-95 / US 1-9 in Fort Washington Park
  Henry Hudson Parkway / US 9 / NY 9A in Washington Heights
Harlem River Drive in Washington Heights
East end I-95 / US 1 in Highbridge Park
CountiesNew York
Highway system

The Trans-Manhattan Expressway is an east–west limited-access highway in New York City, in the United States. It traverses the northern end of the borough of Manhattan at one of its narrowest points, running for 0.8 miles (1.3 km) in a cut through Washington Heights.[2] The highway connects the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River to the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River. Designated Interstate 95 (I-95) and U.S. Route 1, approximately 280,000 vehicles traverse the highway on a daily average basis.[3]

Completed in 1960, the expressway is located below ground level, in an open cut; however, the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and the high-rise Bridge Apartments are built over the expressway, creating intermittent tunnels. It is maintained by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[4]

Although the highway is aligned compass east-west, it carries the north-south routings of I-95 and US 1. The westbound lanes carry southbound route designations, while the eastbound lanes carry northbound route designations.

Route description[edit]

Road and apartments

At its western end, the Trans-Manhattan Expressway is part of I-95, U.S. Route 1 or US 1, and US 9 at the eastern approach to the George Washington Bridge. It crosses Fort Washington Park, connecting with the Henry Hudson Parkway (New York State Route 9A or NY 9A) at the park's eastern edge near Riverside Drive and 168th Street.[5] The route continues, crossing the Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights in a cut flanked by 178th Street to the south and 179th Street to the north. Roughly midway across Manhattan, US 9 leaves the freeway to follow Broadway northward toward the Bronx and Westchester County. Proceeding eastward, the road has several ramps that connect to the Harlem River Drive and the expressway's original Harlem river crossing, the Washington Bridge (now carrying 181st Street local traffic over the Harlem River). At Highbridge Park, the roadway crosses the Alexander Hamilton Bridge to the Bronx, where it becomes the Cross Bronx Expressway.


The Trans-Manhattan Expressway replaced tunnels under 178th and 179th Streets as the crosstown route.

The expressway was announced in 1957 and built in conjunction with the addition of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge.[6] Originally known as the George Washington Bridge Expressway,[7] the highway was originally planned as an open cut between 178th and 179th Streets, traversed by overpasses carrying the major north–south avenues in upper Manhattan. The City of New York approved the creation of the highway in June 1957 as part of a joint effort with the Port Authority that also called for the creation of the lower deck on the George Washington Bridge and construction of the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal above the cut for the Expressway.[8] The expressway, the main New York approach to the George Washington Bridge, is only 0.8 miles long.[2] The projects required demolition of numerous buildings and the relocation of 1,824 families.[9] Overpasses over the open cut passing under Broadway, Wadsworth Avenue, and St. Nicholas Avenue were in place in December 1959.[10]

The George Washington Bridge Expressway, with three lanes of traffic heading in each direction to and from each deck of the double-decked George Washington Bridge, opened to traffic in 1962 as part of a $60 million program to improve access roads for the George Washington Bridge, whose lower deck opened that same year.[11] The Trans-Manhattan Expressway provides access to and from the Henry Hudson Parkway and Riverside Drive on the West Side of Manhattan, and to and from Amsterdam Avenue and the Harlem River Drive on the East Side.

The expressway was one of the first to use air rights over a major highway. After completion of the expressway, the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal was built.[4] After purchasing the air rights in 1961, Marvin Kratter built four high-rise apartment buildings over the expressway. The 32-story buildings are among the first aluminum-sheathed high-rise structures built in the world.[12] Local traffic reporters frequently refer to congestion "under the Apartments" during morning and evening rush hours.[13]

Exit list[edit]

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

Hudson River0.000.00 I-95 south / US 1-9 south / US 46 west to I-80 – New JerseyContinuation into New Jersey at the river's center; eastern terminus of US 46
George Washington Bridge (northbound toll in NJ)
Washington Heights0.20–
1A NY 9A / Henry Hudson Parkway / US 9 north (West 178th Street) – DowntownNo southbound exit; northern terminus of concurrency with US 9
1 NY 9A / Henry Hudson Parkway / West 181st Street – DowntownSouthbound exit via lower level lanes; exit 15 on NY 9A / H.H. Parkway
0.801.292 Harlem River Drive south / Amsterdam Avenue / University Avenue – ManhattanNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; exit 24 on H.R. Drive
Harlem River1.302.09Alexander Hamilton Bridge
I-95 north / US 1 north (Cross Bronx Expressway) to I-87 – New HavenContinuation into the Bronx
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Google (January 9, 2016). "Trans-Manhattan Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Heller, Susan; Dunlap, David W. (August 25, 1986). "New York Day By Day; Big Name And Short Road". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "New York State Department of Transportation Traffic Volume Report 2011 - Page 80" (PDF). September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "6.12: Roadway Open Cuts: 6.12: Roadway Open Manhattan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. ^ See photos on Google Streets here and here
  6. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (February 18, 1957). "New Bridge Links Planned Uptown; Double Decking of George Washington Span to Bring Vast Changes in Area". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  7. ^ 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 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Bennett, Charles G. (June 14, 1957). "City Votes Change in Hudson Bridge - Port Agency Gets Go-Ahead for $183,000,000 Work on George Washington Span". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
  9. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (April 23, 1959). "Relocation Is Almost Completed Near George Washington Bridge". The New York Times. p. 33. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "Streets to be Raised - Girders to Be Placed Today to Span Bridge Approach". The New York Times. December 14, 1959. p. 38. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  11. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (August 30, 1962). "Lower Deck of George Washington Bridge Is Opened". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  12. ^ Nick Ravo (December 9, 1999). "Marvin Kratter, 84; Once Owned Ebbets Field". The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  13. ^ Chen, David (June 18, 2004). "Life on the Road - Learning to Sleep as Trucks Roar Through Basement". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "2007 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. July 25, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 12, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  15. ^ "New York County Inventory Listing" (CSV). New York State Department of Transportation. August 7, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
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