The George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge at NightThe George Washington Bridge (GWB) crosses the Hudson River between Fort Lee and Upper Manhattan, constituting a part of Interstate Highway I-95. Originally designed by Swiss-American engineer Othmar H. Ammann, then-Chief Engineer for the Port Authority, ground was broken for the original six-lane bridge in October of 1927. The bridge was first opened to traffic on October 25, 1931; however, volume required that two additional lanes be created in 1946.

As the traffic volume continued to grow, on August 29, 1962, the Lower Level was opened. This made the George Washington Bridge one of the world’s busiest bridges and the world’s only 14-lane suspension bridge. In 1981, the American Society of Civil Engineers designated the GWB as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

The Upper Level is suspended from four steel cables, each 36 inches in diameter and composed of 26,474 wires. The cables are carried by saddles on top of two 604-foot-high steel towers. On the New Jersey side, the tower rises out of the river 76 feet from shore; on the New York side, the tower stands on land.

Bridge Data

  • Bus Station opened: January 17, 1963
  • Height of tower above water: 604 feet
  • Height restrictions, Lower Level: 13 feet 6 inches
  • Length of center span: 3,500 feet or 1,067 meters
  • Length: 4,760 feet or 1,451 meters (between anchorages)
  • Lower Level opened: August 29, 1962
  • Number of lanes:
    • Lower Level: 6
    • Upper Level: 8 plus 2 footways
  • Opened to traffic: October 25, 1931
  • Original cost: $59,000,000
  • Traffic Volume - Eastbound toward New York City (1999)
    • Total annual traffic: 53,417,768
    • Typical weekday traffic: 151,685
  • Water clearance at mid-span: 212 feet or 65 meters
  • Width of roadway: 90 feet or 27 meters
  • Width: 119 feet or 36 meters