The West Side Highway was an elevated parkway extending from West 72nd Street down to Chambers Street that was constructed between 1927 and 1931. The highway permitted trucks to travel between the piers on the waterfront to warehouses on the island without obstructing auto traffic. The highway was named the Miller Elevated Highway after Julius Miller, the Manhattan Borough President who shepherded it into existence through a bureaucratic maze.
While novel for its time, the pre-modern design of the highway was not suited to the post-WW-II boom in traffic. On December 15, 1973, a section of the highway near Gansevoort Street collapsed under a truck that was carrying asphalt for repair of the highway further north. The highway was subsequently closed and was gradually demolished between 1977 and 1989.
Community opposition derailed the "Westway" project, which would have replaced the highway with a tunnel. The highway was ultimately replaced with an at-grade highway south of 59th Street. The only remaining elevated section of the new highway was the reconstructed viaduct over the Westside Railyard, which had long-since been abandoned. In 1999 the new highway was renamed after famed New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio.
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