George Washington Bridge
This Bridge spans over the Hudson River from the Washington Heights Section of Manhattan, NYC to Fort Lee, Bergen County, NJ.
Yet another of O.H. Ammann’s masterpieces (whom can be credited for the Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Bayonne, Throgs Neck & Verrazano Brides), this magnificent bridge crosses the Hudson to connect upper Manhattan at West 178th St with Fort Lee, New Jersey. At the time of its dedication it was considered to be the longest suspension bridge in the world.
The cables of the GWB are 35 7/8 inches in diameter and withstand a pull of 180 million pounds! The original cost of the bridge was $59 million. The Towers were originally going to be encased in stone and masonry but it was left off due to the depression. So, the bridge opened 8 months ahead of schedule and the Port Authority saved one million dollars in the process.
I’ve crossed it many times by car and a few handfuls by foot and each time feels like the first time. It’s just as much a treat as the Brooklyn Bridge! You’ve got fantastic views. Northward you’ll be able to see the remainder of Manhattan and the Bronx, with Riverdale not too far in the distance. To the South is part of the Mid-Lower Manhattan Skyline. ‘Though, don’t count on being able to take pics of these features since there always seems to be a mist or haze? ‘but they’re always visible to the naked eye.
Below the Bridge on the Manhattan side is Fort Washington Park. Within this park are great spots to view the Bridge alongside the Hudson River. There’s also a light house at the very foot of the bridge. “Great Picture taking moments!” So bring your camera! ‘But be sure you’re ready for a hike should you choose to venture into this park since the exits and entrances to the park are greatly distanced off from one another. I would say I walked miles and miles and came across only a few exits. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough? Nonetheless, It’s yet another way to get a different perspective of this great bridge. One point of entry into the park is from Riverbank State Park at 145th Street.
At the end of your trip should you accept this mission is the little red lighthouse which was originally built and installed at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. In the late 1800’s is was dismantled and moved to Jeffery’s Hook where its stands today. As you can see from the photo above on this page it’s quite a picture taking moment!
At the end of the bridge on the Jersey side you’ll find the palisades to your right and the Fort Lee Historic Park to your left. The palisades are pretty much a woodland walk just along the Hudson River going north of the bridge. Occasionally you’ll find openings in the brush through which you see grand views of upper Manhattan, the Cloisters and a decent view of the bridge.
The Historic Park to th south of the bridge on the Jersey side has a great little revolutionary museum for which I don’t recall paying entrance to, but there might be a small fee now. Beyond this museum, should you continue to walk into the woodland, are historic remnants of American military camps, canons and things of such from the revolutionary war. There is this one spot at a cliff which overlooks the George Washington Bridge. You’d have to be there in person to appreciate it….’words just couldn’t do the trick! But it’s a bit of a hike uphill if you want to venture into this park.
Stats and Facts:
Total length (including approaches): 7,140 feet
Width of bridge roadway: 90 feet
Supported by: 4 cables (with a diameter of 35 7/8 inches each,
the cable pairs are 9 feet apart center to center)
Total weight of steel used: 22,300 tons
Original cost: $19.6 million
Traffic Lanes: 14 lanes (betw. 2 levels)
Construction: 1927 – 1931
Vehicular Traffic: 151,685 during typical week in 1999
Opened to traffic on: October 25, 1931
Clearance above water: 212 feet
“Bridges (1815-1850).” American Eras. 8 vols. Gale Research, 1997-1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: DJ2301500147