George Washington Bridge

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GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE. Spanning the Hudson River between Fort Lee, New Jersey, and 178th Street in Manhattan, the George Washington Bridge was designed by Othmar H. Ammann and constructed by the Port Authority (now Port Authority of New York and New Jersey). It was completed in October 1931, at a cost of $59 million. With a center span of 3,500 feet, twice as long as any bridge span constructed to that date, it became a symbol of the art and craft of the civil engineering profession. Between anchorages, the total length is 4,760 feet; and the deck is suspended from cables composed of galvanized steel wire, with each wire at 0. 196 inches in diameter and the total length of wire at 105,000 miles. A second deck, also designed by Ammann, opened

in 1962; the top level has eight lanes, and the bottom level six. The bridge towers are made of unadorned steel and rise 604 feet above the water; clearance to the Hudson River at mid-span is 212 feet. The bridge carries traffic from New England, Westchester County, New York, and New York City to connecting highways in New Jersey and from there across the nation. Typical eastbound (to New York) weekday traffic in 2000 was 153,000 vehicles and eastbound annual traffic, 54 million vehicles.


American Society of Civil Engineers, Transactions: George Washington Bridge. Vol. 97. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1933.

Billington, David P. The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering. New York: Basic Books, 1983.

Doig, Jameson W. Empire on the Hudson: Entrepreneurial Vision and Political Power at the Port of New York Authority. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

Jameson W.Doig

See alsoBridges ; New Jersey ; New York State .

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Browne, Sir George Washington (1853–1939). Scots architect and writer. From 1881 to 1895 he was Rowand Anderson's junior partner, having worked in London with Nesfield who greatly influenced his later development. In 1887 he won the competition to design Edinburgh's Central Library (completed 1890) with an essay in the François Ier style at George IV Bridge, and used the same style for the British Linen Bank (1902–5—now Bank of Scotland), at the corner of George and Frederick Streets, Edinburgh. Among his other works the Braid (former United Presbyterian) Church, Morningside (1886), the cheerful Hospital for Sick Children (1892), the National Memorial to Edward VII at Holyrood (1912–22), and the fine YMCA Building, St Andrew Street (1914–15), all in Edinburgh, should be cited. From c.1895 to 1907 he was in partnership with J. M. D. Peddie.


AHe, iii (1992), 52–63; DW;
RIBA Journal (Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects), ser. 3 xlvi/376 (1939), 141–3

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George Washington Bridge, vehicular suspension bridge across the Hudson River, between Manhattan borough of New York City and Fort Lee, N.J.; constructed 1927–31. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Its main span is 3,500 ft (1,067 m) long and 250 ft (76 m) above the water. Cass Gilbert was the consulting architect, and O. H. Ammann was in general charge of the planning and construction. In 1962 a lower deck of six lanes was completed.