Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Hudson River, connecting the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan Island in New York City to Fort Lee, New Jersey. The pillar on the Manhattan side of the bridge stands on Jeffery’s Hook, above the Little Red Lighthouse.
The GWB is named in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America. Its chief engineer was Othmar Ammann. Construction of the bridge began in September 1927, a project of the Port of New York Authority. It was dedicated on October 24, 1931.
When it opened, the bridge had the longest main span in the world; at 1067 m (3500 ft), it nearly doubled the previous record of 564 m (1850 ft), which had been held by the Ambassador Bridge. (The record has since been exceeded numerous times.) The total length of the bridge is 1451 m (4760 ft).
The bridge was originally constructed with only a single deck, but a second, lower deck, which had been anticipated in its design, was added in 1962. It was also originally planned that the towers of the bridge would be encased in concrete and granite. However, due to cost and favorable aesthetic critiques of the bare steel towers, this was never done.
Current tolls for cars is $6, $5 peak hours with E-ZPass, $4 off-peak. Trucks are charged $6 per axle. The toll is only charged one way (into New York). Foot traffic and cyclists cross for free on sidewalks, one on each side of the upper deck.
The George Washington Bridge carries I-95, US-1, and US-9 from New Jersey to New York. US-46 terminates at the state border in the middle of the bridge. I-80 and NJ-4 also feed into the bridge but end before reaching it. In 2003 the bridge traffic was 105,942,000 vehicles.
GW Bridge in arts and entertainment
The GW's first movie appearance was in Ball of Fire (1941), and it subsequently appeared in How to Marry a Millionaire, The In-Laws, and Desperately Seeking Susan . The bridge features prominently in the 1997 movie Cop Land, its lower deck serving as a site for an important early scene and the entire bridge acting as a symbolic barrier between Manhattan and the small towns across the river in New Jersey.
The bridge's construction is featured in the 1942 children's book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward (ISBN 0152045716). In the book, a small lighthouse on the Manhattan shore fears it will be overshadowed and rendered useless by the bridge's tall towers and bright lights -- but is reassured that the bridge's lights are for airplanes, not ships.
The bridge was featured in the Amazing Spider-Man comic books (issue #121) when Spider-Man's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is kidnapped and held at the bridge by the Green Goblin. However, the artwork in the comic book is of the Brooklyn Bridge. Further confusing things is that a similar scene in the 2002 Spider-Man movie is clearly set on the Queensboro Bridge.
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