“11 separate aqueducts supplied the city of Rome and were built over a span of 500 years. The first, the Aqua Appia, was built in 312 BC. Aqua Novus stretched the farthest from the city, reaching approximately 59 miles away.”
That’s the High Bridge just south of where Interstate 95 crosses the Harlem River near 179th Street, also known as the Aquaduct Bridge. It brings 40 million gallons of gravity fed water through the Bronx and into New York City everyday from the Croton Reservoir, about 40 miles away.
When it was completed in 1842 (almost 44 years before our ClockTower) it was all stone, consisting of 15 masonry arches. At the time it was the largest engineering project in America.
But increasingly tall sea traffic couldn’t fit underneath. Screwup. So in 1927 the Army Corps of Engineers replaced five of the stone arches over the Harlem River with one enormous 360 foot steel arch.
Now we’re talkin’.
Today, all but two of the remaining stone arches are on our side, the Bronx side.
Two survived in Manhattan.
The steel arch was slated for paint, new fencing and security cameras as part of a $60million renovation, but that was put on hold due to the recession.
The aquaduct had always been open as a public walkway but was forced closed in 1960 when vandals ripped out the fences and dropped large rocks on passing boats.