George Washington Bridge: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other bridges of the same name, see Washington Bridge (disambiguation). For the American politician see George Washington Bridges. For the Marvel comics character see G. W. Bridge.

George Washington Bridge
Other name(s) The GWB, The GW, & The George
Carries 14 lanes (8 upper deck, 6 lower deck) of I-95 / US 1 / US 9 , pedestrians and bicycles
Crosses Hudson River
Locale Fort Lee, New Jersey and Manhattan in New York City
Maintained by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Designer Othmar Ammann, Cass Gilbert
Design Double-decked Suspension bridge
Material Steel
Total length 4,760 ft (1,450 m)[1]
Width 119 ft (36 m)[1]
Height 604 ft (184 m)[1]
Longest span 3,500 ft (1,100 m)
Vertical clearance 14 ft (4.3 m) (upper level), 13.5 ft (4.1 m) (lower level)
Clearance below 212 ft (65 m) at mid-span[1]
AADT 289,329 (2008)[2]
Beginning date of construction October 1927
Opened October 24, 1931 (upper level)
August 29, 1962 (lower level)
Toll Eastbound only. Cars $8.00 ($8 peak, $6 off-peak with E-ZPass)
$2 when carpooling with 3 people or more (EZ-Pass cars only)
Coordinates 40°51′06″N 73°57′09″W / 40.851589°N 73.952483°W / 40.851589; -73.952483 (George Washington Bridge)Coordinates: 40°51′06″N 73°57′09″W / 40.851589°N 73.952483°W / 40.851589; -73.952483 (George Washington Bridge)
George Washington Bridge is located in New York City

The George Washington Bridge (known informally as the GW Bridge,[3] the GWB,[4] the GW,[5] or the George[6]) is a suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River, connecting the Washington Heights neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City to Fort Lee in New Jersey. Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1/9 cross the river via the bridge. U.S. Route 46, which is entirely in New Jersey, ends halfway across the bridge at the state border.

The bridge has an upper level with 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 (70 km/h), though congestion often slows traffic, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. A path on each side of the bridge's upper level carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic. As of 2007, the George Washington Bridge has the greatest capacity of any bridge in the world.[7][8] The bridge carried 107,912,000 vehicles in 2007, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — the bi-state government agency that owns and operates several area bridges, tunnels, and airports.[9]

Contents

History

Groundbreaking for the new bridge began in October 1927, a project of the Port of New York Authority.[10] Its chief engineer was Othmar Ammann, with Cass Gilbert as architect. The bridge was dedicated on October 24, 1931, and opened to traffic the following day.[11][12] Initially named the "Hudson River Bridge," the bridge is named in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The Bridge is near the sites of Fort Washington (on the New York side) and Fort Lee (in New Jersey), which were fortified positions used by General Washington and his American forces in his unsuccessful attempt to deter the British occupation of New York City in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. Washington evacuated Manhattan by crossing between the two forts. 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 located about 100 yards (91 m) northeast of the Little Red Lighthouse, up the hill towards the eastern bridge anchorage.

USS Nautilus passes under the George Washington Bridge in 1956, when the bridge only had a single deck.

When it opened in 1931, the bridge had the longest main span in the world; at 1,067 m (3,500 ft), it nearly doubled the previous record of 564 m (1,850 ft), which had been held by the Ambassador Bridge. (The record has since been exceeded numerous times.) The total length of the bridge is 1,451 m (4,760 ft).

As originally built, the bridge offered six lanes of traffic, but in 1946, two additional lanes were provided on what is now the upper level.[10] A second, lower deck, which had been anticipated in Ammann's original plans, was ordered by Col. McCammon, USACE, opening to the public on August 29, 1962.[13] This lower level has been waggishly nicknamed "Martha."[14] The additional deck increased the capacity of the bridge by 75 percent, making the George Washington Bridge the world's only 14-lane suspension bridge, providing eight lanes on the upper level and six on the lower deck.

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. Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret) said of the unadorned steel structure:

"The George Washington Bridge over the Hudson is the most beautiful bridge in the world. Made of cables and steel beams, it gleams in the sky like a reversed arch. It is blessed. It is the only seat of grace in the disordered city. It is painted an aluminum color and, between water and sky, you see nothing but the bent cord supported by two steel towers. When your car moves up the ramp the two towers rise so high that it brings you happiness; their structure is so pure, so resolute, so regular that here, finally, steel architecture seems to laugh. The car reaches an unexpectedly wide apron; the second tower is very far away; innumerable vertical cables, gleaming against the sky, are suspended from the magisterial curve which swings down and then up. The rose-colored towers of New York appear, a vision whose harshness is mitigated by distance." (When the Cathedrals were White[15])

The George Washington Bridge was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers on October 24, 1981, the fiftieth anniversary of the bridge's dedication ceremony.[16]

Following the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington, the Port Authority prohibited people from taking photographs on the premises of the bridge because of the fear that terrorist groups might study any potential photographs in order to plot a terrorist attack on the bridge. Such prohibitions have since been lifted. As the enclosed lower level is more vulnerable to hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents than the upper level, most HAZMATs have been prohibited there even before the September 11th attacks.[17] If weather allows, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day, as well as on dates honoring those lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the bridge sports the largest free-flying American flag in the world; 90 feet (27 m) long and 60 feet (18 m) wide, the flag weighs 450 pounds (200 kg).[18][19]

Road connections

GW Bridge, circa 1985

The George Washington Bridge carries I-95, US-1, and US-9 between New Jersey and New York. US-46 terminates at the state border in the middle of the bridge. I-80 and NJ-4 also feed into the bridge but end before reaching it. On the New Jersey side of the Bridge, the Palisades Interstate Parkway connects directly to the bridge's upper level (plans to give direct access to the lower level from the parkway have been postponed), and the New Jersey Turnpike connects to both levels of the bridge.

On the New York side, the twelve-lane Trans-Manhattan Expressway heads east across the narrow neck of upper Manhattan, from the bridge to the Harlem River, providing access from both decks to 178th Street, the Henry Hudson Parkway and Riverside Drive on the West Side of Manhattan, and to Amsterdam Avenue and the Harlem River Drive on the East Side. The Expressway connects directly with the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, which spans the Harlem River as part of the Cross-Bronx Expressway (I-95), providing access to the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87). Heading towards New Jersey, local access to the Bridge is available from 179th Street. There are also ramps connecting the bridge to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, a commuter bus terminal with direct access to the New York City Subway at the 175th Street (A) station on the IND Eighth Avenue Line.

Tolls

New York side of the bridge, under restoration, as seen from the Hudson River, July 2005. Note the "Little Red Lighthouse."
GW Bridge from New Jersey

Current tolls for cars are as follows: $8 if paying with cash, $8 peak hours with E-ZPass, and $6 off-peak hours with E-ZPass. A special discounted carpool toll ($2) is available for cars with three or more passengers, at all times, with E-ZPass, who proceed through a staffed toll lane (provided they have previously opted-in to the free "Carpool Plan"). Current tolls for motorcycles are $7 cash, $7 peak hours with E-ZPass, and $5 off-peak with E-ZPass. Trucks are charged $8 per axle, with significantly discounted off-peak and overnight tolls.[20] The toll is only charged one way (eastbound), which is how all Hudson River crossings are tolled. The George Washington Bridge takes in approximately $1 million per day in tolls.

The bridge has a total of 31 toll lanes, 12 in the upper level toll plaza, 12 in the lower level toll plaza, and seven in the Palisades Interstate Parkway toll plaza. The toll plazas on the lower level and Palisades Parkway are not staffed during the overnight hours and only accept E-ZPass transactions during this time period.[1][20]

Foot traffic and cyclists cross for free on the sidewalk. Though there are sidewalks on each side of the bridge, cyclists and pedestrians can only use the south side. It 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 deal with Geico, the auto insurance giant, that included the posting of a large billboard on top of the toll plaza that said "Geico Drive Safely," and Geico signs on the tollbooths and approach roads, some of which would feature the insurer's signature gecko. The arrangement would have provided the agency with $3.2 million over two years.[21] A week later, however, the Port Authority canceled the contract with Geico after criticism that the signs would mar the landmarked bridge, that the Port Authority had failed to negotiate a good price for the deal and that the placement of the signs might violate Fort Lee's regulations.[22]

View of the roadway and tower

Non-motorized access

Southern walkway

The 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 towards Albany, New York.

The Port Authority closed the North Sidewalk at all times in 2008.[23] Though offering direct access into Palisades Interstate Park, the North sidewalk requires stairway climbs and descents on both sides, always an inconvenience and obstacle to handicapped people, and a risk in poor weather conditions.

Transportation Alternatives, a New York City advocacy group, has proposed an enhanced River Road connector in Fort Lee, which would create safer pedestrian and bicycle access to the George Washington Bridge on the New Jersey side of the bridge.[24]

Alternate routes

Night View of GWB from GE Building.
The George Washington Bridge from Riverside Drive

Motorists and trucks traveling from New England states towards Pennsylvania, or from the direction of Pennsylvania towards New England, often take the Tappan Zee Bridge crossing instead of the George Washington Bridge as this effectively bypasses New York City and the associated traffic.

Suicides

The George Washington Bridge is among the sites in New York City often chosen by people who commit suicide, along with the Empire State Building.[25]

The protagonist in James Baldwin's Another Country commits suicide by jumping off this bridge.

Cultural references

  • The bridge has been featured in at least two children's books, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, and Phyllis McGinley's The Horse who had His Picture in the Paper.
  • In the Stephen King novel Wolves of the Calla, the GWB is instrumental in the passage of character Father Callahan into parallel Earths.
  • The opening cut scene of the 2001 video game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty takes place on the George Washington Bridge. The protagonist, Solid Snake is walking the bridge in order to intercept and board a cargo vessel holding the latest incarnation of Metal Gear, an amphibious model, dubbed RAY.
  • In the song "Breathe" from the Broadway musical In the Heights, Nina Rosario sings, "Just me and the GWB, asking gee, Nina, what'll you be?"

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Facts & Info - George Washington Bridge". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-facts-info.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  2. ^ "2008 NYSDOT Traffic Data Report". New York State Department of Transportation. Appendix C. https://www.nysdot.gov/divisions/engineering/technical-services/hds-respository/NYSDOT_TDR_Appendix_C.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  3. ^ Rose, Lacey (March 2, 2006). "Inside the Booth". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/02/tollbooth-collectors-money_cx_lr_money06_0302tollbooth.html. Retrieved 2008-01-15. "Like the PATH trains, which also connect New York to New Jersey, the G.W. Bridge is run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a public agency that employees 7,000 workers and has annual revenues of $2.9 billion.". 
  4. ^ Toolen, Tom (September 27, 1995). "Bridges Keep Photographer in Suspense". The Record. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-22488349.html. Retrieved 2008-01-15. "Frieder calls the GWB 'the most beautiful suspension bridge in the world...'" 
  5. ^ Jones, Charisse (October 20, 2006). "Upkeep Costs Rise as USA's Bridges Age". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-10-19-bridges_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-15. "The George Washington Bridge — locals call it 'the GW' — is one of a collection of dazzling spans that link New York's five boroughs or the city and New Jersey." 
  6. ^ Barron, James (July 22, 1998). "Bridge Photographer With a Taste for Trivia". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E2D81F30F931A15754C0A96E958260. Retrieved 2008-01-15. "Mr. Frieder takes it for granted that anyone who has ever heard a radio traffic report will know that the G.W.B., a k a the George, is the George Washington Bridge." 
  7. ^ "Bridges of NYC". Man-Made. National Geographic Channel. “More than 107,000,000 vehicles crossed its fourteen lanes in 2005 alone.”
  8. ^ Rife, Judy (October 24, 2006). "George Washington Bridge Turns 75 Years Old". Times Herald-Record. http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061024/BIZ/610240312/-1/NEWS03. Retrieved 2010-02-27. "The party, however, will be small in comparison to the one that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey organized for 5,000 people to open the bridge to traffic in 1931. And it won't even be on what is now the world's busiest bridge for fear of snarling traffic." 
  9. ^ "Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - George Washington Bridge". http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/bridges/html/gwb.html. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  10. ^ a b "History - George Washington Bridge". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-history.html. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  11. ^ "Two Governors Open Great Hudson Bridge As Throngs Look On". The New York Times. October 25, 1931. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40B12FC395E10728DDDAC0A94D8415B818FF1D3. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  12. ^ "56,312 Cars Cross Bridge on First Day". The New York Times. October 26, 1931. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F1071EFD3B5D1B7A93C4AB178BD95F458385F9. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  13. ^ Ingraham, Joseph C. (August 30, 1962). "Lower Deck of George Washington Bridge Is Opened". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40C16FC3A58137A93C2AA1783D85F468685F9. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  14. ^ Rockland, Michael Aaron (2008). The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0813543754. 
  15. ^ Jeanneret-Gris, Charles-Édouard (1937) (in French). Quand les cathédrales étaient blanches [When the Cathedrals were White]. 
  16. ^ "George Washington Bridge". ASCE Metropolitan Section. http://www.ascemetsection.org/content/view/342/876/. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  17. ^ "Transportation Regulations at Tunnel and Bridge Facilities". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/truckers-resources/pdf/red-book.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  18. ^ "George Washington Bridge Interesting Facts". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/bridges/pdfs/01_08_02_GWashBrdg.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  19. ^ Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (September 8, 2006). "World's Largest Free-Flying American Flag to Fly at George Wasington Bridge in Honor of 9/11 Victims". Press release. http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/press-item.cfm?headLine_id=774. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  20. ^ a b "Tolls - Bridges & Tunnels". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/tolls.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  21. ^ Belson, Ken (January 4, 2007). "With Ad Deal, Insurer Wades Into Bridge Traffic". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/04/nyregion/04bridge.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  22. ^ Belson, Ken (January 9, 2007). "Agency Cancels Insurer’s Ads for George Washington Bridge". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/nyregion/09bridge.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  23. ^ "Pedestrian & Bicycle Information - George Washington Bridge". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-pedestian-bicycle-info.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27.  The north sidewalk is closed around-the-clock.
  24. ^ "Support Grows in NJ for GW Bridge to "River Road" Connector Path". Transportation Alternatives Magazine (Transportation Alternatives): 15. Summer 2003. http://www.transalt.org/files/newsroom/magazine/033Summer/15gwb.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  25. ^ Lite, Jordan (November 1, 2007). "Some 'tourists' choose city landmarks for suicide". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/11/01/2007-11-01_some_tourists_choose_city_landmarks_for_-1.html. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 

External links

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Simple English

George Washington Bridge
File:George Washington Bridge New York roadway and
Other name(s) The GWB, The GW, & The George
Carries 14 lanes (8 upper level, 6 lower level) of I-95/US 1/US 9, people and bicycles
Crosses Hudson River
Locale Fort Lee, New Jersey and Manhattan in New York City
Maintained by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Designer Othmar Ammann, Cass Gilbert
Design Double-decked Suspension bridge
Material Steel
Total length 4,760 ft (1,450 m)[1]
Width 119 ft (36 m)[1]
Height 604 ft (184 m)[1]
Longest span 3,500 ft (1,100 m)[2]
Vertical clearance 14 ft (4.3 m) (upper level), 13.5 ft (4.1 m) (lower level)
Clearance below 212 ft (65 m) at mid-span[1]
AADT 289,329 (2008)[3]
Beginning date of construction October 1927
Opened October 24, 1931 (upper level)
August 29, 1962 (lower level)
Toll Eastbound only. Cars ($8 peak, $6 off-peak with E-ZPass)
$2 in a carpool with 3 people or more (EZ-Pass cars only)
Coordinates 40°51′06″N 73°57′09″W / 40.851589°N 73.952483°W / 40.851589; -73.952483 (George Washington Bridge)Coordinates: 40°51′06″N 73°57′09″W / 40.851589°N 73.952483°W / 40.851589; -73.952483 (George Washington Bridge)

."]]

The George Washington Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Hudson River, that connects part of New York City, New York to Fort Lee, New Jersey. It is 4,750 feet (1584 meters) long and was designed by Othmar H. Ammann. Building began on October 21 1927, and it was opened on October 25, 1931, at a cost of $59 million. [4] A second level was added below the main level and opened to traffic on August 29, 1962.[4]

The main span of the bridge is 3,500 ft (1,067 m) and it is 119 ft (36 m) wide.[4] It is suspended by four cables, each cable weighing 28,450 tons, and each is made from 26,474 individual wires. The total length of all the wire in the four cables is 107,000 mi (172,200 km).[4]

Ammann chose the site for the bridge because the river was narrower at this point. The banks on either side were high, which meant the bridge could be tall enough for ships to pass underneath, without having to build long rising bridge approaches.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Facts & Info - George Washington Bridge". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-facts-info.html. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  2. "George Washington Bridge". ASCE Metropolitan Section. http://www.ascemetsection.org/content/view/342/876/. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  3. "2008 NYSDOT Traffic Data Report". New York State Department of Transportation. Appendix C. https://www.nysdot.gov/divisions/engineering/technical-services/hds-respository/NYSDOT_TDR_Appendix_C.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "George Washington Bridge". Roads of NYC. Eastern Roads. http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/george-washington/. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 


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