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George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 12, 2008
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
I-95 and US-1 Over Hudson River
Fort Lee and New York: Bergen County, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Truss Stiffening Wire Cable Suspension, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1931 By Builder/Contractor: McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Othmar Ammann

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
3500 Feet (1066.8 Meters)
Structure Length
4980.2 Feet (1517.96 Meters)
Roadway Width
119 Feet (36.27 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 18 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View A Historical Article About The Construction of This Bridge From The Perspective of Roebling and Sons Company

View A Historical Article About A Testing Machine Created For This Bridge

View Historical Reports About The Bridge's Construction

This bridge overtook the Ambassador Bridge as the longest suspension span in the world when completed. The bridge is noted for its distinctive towers. The towers were originally intended to be encased in concrete, but public opinion strongly favored the geometric art of the open network of bracing and trussing in the towers. 

The bridge was altered in 1962 when a lower deck level was added to the bridge.

The George Washington Bridge carries one of the largest volumes of traffic of any bridge in the world.

An unplanned "spontaneous" bridge documentation, HistoricBridges.org currently features only on-deck views and details of this bridge, the bridge having been documented while stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge. Given the volume of traffic using this bridge, it likely is not unusual for the bridge to turn into a parking lot. The good news is because this is a beautiful historic bridge, travelers who find themselves trapped on the bridge can at least enjoy the design and details of this landmark historic bridge.

More information is available here.

Below are some historical photos taken during the construction of the bridge that provide a more complete look into not only the design of the bridge but the impressive construction process employed to erect the bridge.

Above: The initial construction of the cable system always starts with small cables, which are then used to install the larger cables. Here, the smaller cables, which supported the foot bridge that ran across the bridge are laid on the ground. After being laid out on the ground and in water, they were hoisted up into place over the river where they followed the profile of the main cable which would then be constructed using the method of cable spinning.

Above are photos showing the general construction of the bridge superstructure before anything having to do with the deck and roadway was begun. In other words, the towers and main cables are the only thing that construction work was focused on at this time.

Above: Photo showing anchorage construction.

Above: Detail photo showing how the wire cables tie into eyebars at the anchorages.

Above: Overview of the Roebling and Sons Company plant where the cables for the George Washington Bridge were manufactured.

Above: The cables to be used on the bridge were tested in a variety of ways. Here, a sample section of the proposed main cable was tested.

Above: Scale models of the bridge, including this one showing how the pedestrian walkway cables would be hoisted up, were employed during the design and construction process.

Above: Cables for the bridge being galvanized in the plant.

Above: Cables for the bridge loaded onto railroad cars and ready for shipment to the bridge site.


Photos and Videos: George Washington Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

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A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
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A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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