The GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE – known informally as the GW BRIDGE,
the GWB, the GW, or the GEORGE – is a double-decked suspension
bridge spanning the
Hudson River between the Washington Heights
New York City
The bridge, an integral conduit within the New York metropolitan area
, has an upper level that carries four lanes in each direction and a
lower level with three lanes in each direction, for a total of 14
lanes of travel. The speed limit on the bridge is 45 mph (72 km/h),
though congestion frequently slows traffic on both weekdays and
weekends. The bridge's upper level also carries pedestrian and bicycle
Interstate 95 (I-95) and
U.S. Route 1/9
* 1 History
* 2 Connections and routes
* 2.1 Road access
* 2.1.1 Tolls * 2.1.2 Alternate routes
* 2.2 Non-motorized access
* 3 Suicides * 4 In popular culture * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
The bridge, looking south from the New York side of the Hudson River. USS Nautilus passes under the bridge in 1956, when the bridge had only a single deck.
The bridge sits near the sites of Fort Washington (in New York) and
Fort Lee (in New Jersey), which were fortified positions used by
George Washington and his American forces as they attempted to
deter the occupation of
New York City
Construction on the bridge began in October 1927 as a project of the
Port of New York Authority . The bridge's chief engineer was Othmar
Ammann , with
Prior to and while under construction, the bridge was unofficially known as the " Hudson River Bridge". That name was the popular choice, chosen over a host of other proposed names as well as the Port Authority's preference for the name " George Washington Bridge", based on 1931 ballot voting submitted to the Port Authority by New York and New Jersey residents. However, the Port Authority named the bridge after George Washington that year.
The bridge was dedicated on October 24, 1931, and opened to traffic
the following day. The
George Washington Bridge, with a span of
4,760 feet (1,450 m) in total – including a main span of 3,500 feet
(1,100 m) – was the longest main bridge span in the world at the
time, at nearly double the 1,850 feet (560 m) of the previous record
Ambassador Bridge in
In 1946, two more lanes were created on the current upper level, widening it from the original six lanes. A second, lower deck, which had been anticipated in Ammann's original plans, was approved by Lt. Col. Joseph R. McCammon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and opened to the public on August 29, 1962. The lower level, nicknamed "Martha" after George's wife Martha Washington , increased the capacity of the bridge by 75 percent, and simultaneously made the George Washington Bridge the world's only 14-lane suspension bridge.
The original design for the towers of the bridge called for them to be encased in concrete and granite . However, because of cost considerations during the Great Depression and favorable aesthetic critiques of the bare steel towers, this was never done. The exposed steel towers, with their distinctive criss-crossed bracing, have become one of the bridge's most identifiable characteristics.
The George Washington Bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers on October 24, 1981, the 50th anniversary of the bridge's dedication ceremony.
Starting on July 4, 2000, and for subsequent special occasions, each tower is illuminated by 380 light fixtures that highlight the exposed steel structure. On each tower there are a mix of 150 and 1000 watt metal halide lamp fixtures. The architectural lighting design was completed by Domingo Gonzalez Associates.
As the enclosed lower level is more vulnerable to hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents than the upper level, most HAZMATs have long been prohibited there. Following the September 11 attacks , the Port Authority also prohibited people from taking photographs on the premises of the bridge out of fear that terrorist groups might study photographs to plot an attack on the bridge, but the photography ban has since been lifted.
Since 2006, the bridge has flown the world's largest free-flying
American flag , measuring at 90 feet (27 m) long, 60 feet (18 m) wide,
and 450 pounds (200 kg). It is hoisted on special occasions when
weather allows, and appears on
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ,
Presidents Day ,
Memorial Day , Flag Day , Independence Day , Labor
In December 2011, the Port Authority announced plans to repair the bridge. For the first time, the vertical suspender cables would be replaced, at an expected cost of more than $1 billion paid for by toll revenue. On August 5, 2013, repair crews began an $82-million effort to fix cracks in upper-deck structural steel caused by traffic, particularly heavy trucks. The plan called for replacing 632 road deck panels, which would add at least 20 years of service life to the roadway. The work proceeded at night, and was slated to be complete by year's end. But delays prevented completion and ultimately the work was halted for the winter. It was restarted on June 16, 2014, and was expected to last another 12 weeks.
From September 9 to 13, 2013, dedicated toll lanes for one of the
local Fort Lee entrances to the bridge's upper level were reduced from
three to one, the two given to highway traffic, without notification
to local government officials and emergency responders on orders from
aides and appointees of New Jersey Governor
CONNECTIONS AND ROUTES
Under the New York side's pillar
The George Washington Bridge carries I-95 and US 1/9 between New Jersey and New York. Coming from New Jersey, US 46 terminates at the state border in the middle of the bridge. Further west, I-80 , US 9W , New Jersey Route 4 , and the New Jersey Turnpike also feed into the bridge via either I-95, U.S. 1/9, or U.S. 46 but end before reaching it. The Palisades Interstate Parkway connects directly to the bridge's upper level, though not to the lower level (plans to give direct access to the lower level from the parkway have been postponed). The marginal roads and local streets above the highways are known as GWB Plaza .
On the New York side, the 12-lane Trans-
Manhattan Expressway heads
east across the narrow neck of upper
Manhattan , from the bridge to
Emergency services are provided by the Port Authority's Tunnel "> The underside of the lower deck of the bridge, looking west from Manhattan
Eastbound vehicles must pay a toll to cross the bridge; as with all Hudson River crossings along the North River , westbound vehicles cross for free. Tolls for the bridge cost $.50 one way in 1931, have been raised over the years, and increased to $15 cash for passenger vehicles on December 6, 2015.
In 2006, bridge tolls totaled about $1 million per day; at the time, tolls for cars were $6 cash, $5 E-ZPass peak hours, and $4 E-ZPass off-peak hours.
As of December 6, 2015, the cash tolls going from New Jersey to New York are $15 for both cars and motorcycles. E-ZPass users are charged $10.50 for cars and $9.50 for motorcycles during off-peak hours (outside of 6–10 a.m. and 4–8 p.m. on the weekdays; and outside of 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on the weekends) and $12.50 for cars and $11.50 for motorcycles during peak hours (6–10 a.m. and 4–8 p.m. on the weekdays; and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on the weekends). Trucks are charged cash tolls of $20.00 per axle, with discounted peak, off-peak, and overnight (Sunday - Thursday 10 p.m.-6 a.m.) E-ZPass tolls. A discounted carpool toll ($6.50) is available at all times for cars with three or more passengers using NY or NJ E-ZPass, who proceed through a staffed toll lane (provided they have registered with the free "Carpool Plan"). There is an off-peak toll of $7.00 for qualified low-emission passenger vehicles, which have received a Green E-ZPass based on registering for the Port Authority Green Pass Discount Plan. Aerial view of the bridge from Manhattan From the Upper West Side George Washington Bridge and the Manhattan skyline viewed from the Palisades "Bridgegate " entrance to the main upper-level toll plaza congested with traffic
The bridge has 29 toll lanes: 12 in the main upper-level toll plaza, 10 in the lower-level toll plaza, and seven in the Palisades Interstate Parkway toll plaza leading to the upper level. The toll plazas on the lower level and Palisades Parkway are not staffed during the overnight hours and accept only E-ZPass transactions during this period. Pedestrians and cyclists cross for free on the sidewalk. Though there are sidewalks on each side of the bridge, cyclists and pedestrians can use only the south side. The bridge offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline , and the New Jersey Palisades . Pedestrians had to pay tolls of 10 cents shortly after the bridge opened, but non-motorized traffic is no longer tolled.
In January 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
announced a two-year, $3.2-million deal with
George Washington Bridge is notorious for traffic jams during
rush hour, as are the highways connected to it, including the
Manhattan Expressway that turns into the Cross Bronx Expressway
to the east, the
Within New York City, the
Lincoln Tunnel (NJ 495 ) and Holland Tunnel
Interstate 78 /NJ 139 ) also enter Manhattan, albeit further south.
The Verrazano Bridge (I-278 ), which connects
Staten Island with
For traffic from further away, such as traffic between New England
(and points north/east) and
George Washington Bridge is popular among sightseers and
commuters traveling by foot, bicycle, or roller skates. The South
sidewalk (accessible by a long, steep ramp on the
Manhattan side of
the bridge) is shared by cyclists and pedestrians, with a level
surface from end to end. The entrance in
Manhattan is at 178th Street,
just west of Cabrini Boulevard which also has access to the Hudson
River Greenway north of the bridge. The sidewalk is accessible on the
New Jersey side from Hudson Terrace, where a gate open in daytime and
evening allows pedestrians and bikes to pass. Also on Hudson Terrace,
less than one hundred yards north of the bike/ped entrance, walkers
will find the start of the
Long Path hiking trail, which leads after a
short walk to some spectacular views of the bridge and continues north
toward Albany . The
George Washington Bridge carries New York State
The Port Authority closed the north sidewalk at all times in 2008. Though it offers direct access into Palisades Interstate Park, the north sidewalk requires stairway climbs and descents on both sides, which is impassable to people with physical disabilities and a risk in poor weather conditions.
Transportation Alternatives , a
New York City
In 1994, a caller into
The Howard Stern Show was on the bridge
threatening to commit suicide, but
In 2012, a record 18 people threw themselves off the bridge to their deaths, with 43 suicide attempts overall.
In 2014, 18 deaths were reported, with 74 people stopped by the Port Authority police. In 2015, 18 deaths were reported, with 86 people stopped by the Port Authority police. In 2016, 12 reported deaths, with 70 people stopped by the Port Authority police.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
The landmark bridge is seen in many movies set in New York, mostly in
establishing shots . The bridge is featured, along with the nearby
Little Red Lighthouse
In the 1976 film Network , the character Max Schumacher (William Holden ) tells a funny story to his friend Howard Beale (Peter Finch ), in which the young Schumacher, who overslept for a news shoot about the new lower deck at the bridge, gets into a cab wearing a raincoat over his pajamas and tells the cabbie to: "Take me to the middle of the George Washington Bridge." The cabbie, concerned that Schumacher intended to jump from the bridge, turns around and begs him: "Don't do it buddy! You're a young man! You got your whole life ahead of you!"
* Bridges portal
* New Jersey portal
* New York portal
New York City
* List of fixed crossings of the Hudson River * List of bridges documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in New Jersey * List of bridges documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in New York
* ^ In 1910, the Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution erected a stone monument to the Battle of Fort
Washington . The monument is about 100 yards (91 m) northeast of the
Little Red Lighthouse
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