Press Release Article


Date: Sep 18, 2017
Press Release Number: 170-2017

Work will require the temporary three-month closing of the bridge’s south sidewalk; North sidewalk to open as alternative for pedestrians and bicyclists

The Port Authority announced today it will install pedestrian safety fencing along the George Washington Bridge’s south sidewalk, with installation beginning September 25 and completion scheduled by the end of 2017. The announcement followed a tour of the bridge and its associated facilities this morning by Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton, who reviewed the $1.9 billion “Restore the George” restoration plans and other related issues including the safety fence.

To accommodate installation of the temporary fence, the upper-level south sidewalk will be temporarily closed to pedestrians and bicyclists for three months. During that time, the bridge’s north sidewalk – which is typically closed to the public – will be opened as an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists traveling between New York and New Jersey. The work will result in a temporary inconvenience to cyclists, who will have to roll their bikes up a channel adjacent to a staircase to access the north sidewalk.

The temporary pedestrian safety fencing is part of the early action work for the Port Authority’s “Restore the George” program. The program includes the replacement of the bridge’s original 592 suspender ropes, and the installation of a permanent 11-foot-high safety fence along both of the bridge’s sidewalks. The permanent sidewalk project contains ramps and ADA access that will provide cyclists with improved access to the bridge’s sidewalk and less obstructed navigation of the crossing.

Once the temporary fence is installed on the south sidewalk by the end of 2017, the north sidewalk will be closed and work will commence on the replacement of the northern suspender ropes in 2018, along with the permanent safety fencing. Once the northern walkway opens, the southern sidewalk will be closed to perform suspender rope work and installation of permanent fencing on the southern side.

In recent years, the Port Authority has taken several other pedestrian safety measures on the crossing, including walking police patrols on the bridge’s sidewalk and the stationing of Emergency Service Units at the crossing. The Port Authority also has partnered with mental health care providers in New York and New Jersey that offer counseling and services to persons experiencing a crisis. The partnership with Care Plus New Jersey and LIFENET resulted in 42 suicide awareness signs which were posted on the north and south sidewalks, along with 1-800-LIFENET telephones provided in several locations on the sidewalks.

To date in 2017, the Port Authority initiatives have resulted in 45 interventions of emotionally disturbed people that were considering doing themselves harm.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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