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Caution Optional » Blog Archive » LOST: Small highway, answers to name of 9W ($$reward$$)

I recently came across this site - Gribble Nation: Lost 9w and was immediately excited beyond all reason to have a section of abandoned historic roadway less than five miles from my driveway. That I never realized it was there (and I’ve been to that exact area before) is a moment of personal shame. :-(

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There’s a lot of material to cover here, so I’ll be splitting this up into two parts.

NY Times thumbnail lost9w

Much more after the jump (click on “continue reading“)…

A bit of backstory is necessary to understand what happened here. The Palisades is the name given to the cliffs bordering the Hudson River on the Western (mostly NJ) side. They run roughly from Jersey City, NJ for twenty miles up into Nyack, NY. Back in the 1800’s there were several rock quarrying operations which were responsible for removing huge chunks of cliff face at a blast (sending hundreds of tons rock crashing down into the river). Fortunately in 1900 NY & NJ formed the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to protect the palisades. And with some substantial property donations by J.P. Morgan, they were eventually able to secure the required land.

As the Palisades Interstate Park (PIP) grew in popularity as a convenient getaway for New Yorkers, its lack of accessible roads became a growing issue. To help alleviate this problem (and create a new one), new roads were built near the Palisades. One of them, originally named Route 18, was built in 1926 to connect New York state with the roadways in the PIP. Shortly afterwards it became known as Route 9w. With the completion of the Holland Tunnel in 1927 and the George Washington Bridge in 1931, more and more New Yorkers found a way to beat the Manhattan traffic by cutting across the river. Unfortunately, the roadways on the NJ side were not prepared for this increase in volume. In an effort to alleviate the congestion (remember, we were still more than twenty years away from either the Garden State Parkway, the NJ Turnpike or the Palisades Interstate Parkway), parts of Route 9w (the preferred Northbound corridor) were split into North and Southbound sides (see first image).

At the highest point on the Palisades (550 feet), where 9W came closest to the edge, a look out was built. Originally known as lookout #3, it was eventually named State Line Lookout.

In 1937 one of the many WPA projects in the PIP was the building of the Lookout Inn, a refreshment stand, gas pumps and parking lot.

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In the above picture you can see the lookout on the right of the roadway and the Lookout Inn parking lot driveway branching to the left.

Lookout Inn

Crossing

Despite the convenience of the Inn and the parking lot, visitors still had to cross Route 9W in order to get to the lookout, so you can see an automotive traffic signal and pedestrian signal in the background of the above picture.

Eventually the need for a faster roadway, capable of handling a much higher volume of traffic became apparent and the Palisades Interstate Parkway was born. Well, the word ‘born’ implies an immediate coming into existence but the P.I.Pkwy, though started in 1947, wasn’t fully completed until 1961.

Unfortunately for the daily commuter (who was now deprived of the scenic vista directly outside of their car window), a section of the new Pkwy crossed over Rte 9W’s path, so the offending section of 9W was decommissioned in 1957.

For more information on the State Line lookout, visit the very interesting www.njpalisades.org website. For more information on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, check out the most excellent www.nycroads.com website.

Pictures of the lost roadway as it appears in 2008 in the next installment.

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