Once The Longest Suspension Bridge In The World, New Jersey's George Washington Bridge Was A True Feat Of Engineering
Did you know that New Jersey was once home to the longest suspension bridge in the world? For several years in the 1930s, the George Washington Bridge impressed the world as a seemingly impossible feat of engineering!
The George Washington Bridge connects Fort Lee, New Jersey to Manhattan, New York City. It's the world's busiest bridge, and just about everyone in New Jersey has driven over it at least once in their lives.
The bridge opened in 1931, and at the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Though it was surpassed just a few years later when the Golden Gate Bridge opened, the GWB is a modern engineering marvel that impressed the entire world when the first cars began to cross.
If you've ever wondered just how much steel and wire was used to create the bridge, the answer is simple:
a whole lot/
Some quick numbers for you to consider: original construction of the single-level bridge required over 100,000 tons of fabricated steel and 25,000 tons of wire. If you laid the wire end-to-end, it would stretch for over 105,000 miles!
From 1931 to 1962, the bridge offered a single level of roadway connecting NYC to NJ. Soon, though, it became apparent that the bridge was just too busy!
In order to combat the traffic, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey built a second level, beneath the top. Today, travelers have a choice of driving over the upper or lower level. What's your preference?
Today, the bridge carries 14 lanes of traffic and is the busiest motor vehicle bridge on the planet. The upper span has 4 lanes in each direction, while underneath, there are six total lanes going back and forth from Fort Lee to Washington Heights.
If you would prefer to cross the bridge on foot or on a bicycle, you can use the upper level's southern sidewalk. While two sidewalks exist, the northern one is almost always closed.
While we all may complain about the GWB traffic (and let's not even get
started on the Bridgegate conversation!), it's truly an engineering marvel, and our lives would be much more difficult without this river crossing!
So, the next time you cross the Hudson - whether you be a lower-level traveler or you like to take in the views from the top deck - think about the impressive feat it was to build this enormous, record-setting bridge way back in the 1930s.
Truly, it's an amazing piece of art!
Is the GWB part of your daily commute? Have you driven over it lately?
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George Washington Bridge, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, USA