Friday, August 7, 2009

New York City's Bridges: George Washington Bridge

In contrast to the East and Harlem Rivers, there is only one bridge that crosses the Hudson River to Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge forms an important link in I-95/US-1 that speeds vehicles across the Hudson and through the most congested part of Manhattan. The bridge connects Fort Lee in New Jersey to the Washington Heights area of Manhattan. It was named after George Washington who unsuccessfully tried to prevent the British from entering Manhattan. After he failed, he quickly crossed from Fort Washington to Fort Lee where the bridge now stands.

The George Washington Bridge is an iconic landmark because of its huge skeletal towers. The design originally called for the towers to have a granite facade, but this was eventually abandoned, perhaps because the bridge was built during the Great Depression. When it was completed in 1931, it doubled the record for the longest suspension bridge with a main span of 3500 ft and with towers that were 650 ft tall. The Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883 with a main span of 1600 ft and 280 ft towers. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was built in 1998 with a main span of 6500 ft and 930 ft towers.
The George Washington Bridge is owned by the Port Authority of New York, designed by Othmar H. Ammann, and with architectural support from Cass Gilbert. The bridge originally had six vehicle lanes and sidewalks. In 1946 two additional lanes were added in the middle of the deck. A lower deck was added in 1962, which gave the bridge a total of fourteen lanes (the most on any bridge) and allowing it to carry about 300,000 vehicles a day.
Creative Commons License
New York City's Bridges: George Washington Bridge by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

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