George Washington Bridge
Drove over on Oct. 26, 2010
George Washington Bridge From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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) Width 119 ft (36 m) Height 604 ft (184 m) 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 Beginning date of construction October 1927 Opened October 24, 1931
The George Washington Bridge (known informally as the GW Bridge, the GWB, the GW, or the George) 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 vehicular capacity of any bridge in the world, carrying approximately 106 million vehicles per year, making it the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, 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.
History Groundbreaking for the new bridge began in October 1927, a project of the Port of New York Authority. 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. 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 surpassed the Ambassador Bridge for the longest main span in the world. At 3,500 feet (1,100 m), it nearly doubled the previous record of 1,850 feet (560 m). It held this title until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. The total length of the bridge is 4,760 feet (1,450 m).
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. 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. This lower level has been waggishly nicknamed "Martha". 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)
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