Press Release Article

Port Authority to Commemorate George Washington Bridge’s 75th Anniversary

Date: Feb 17, 2006
Press Release Number: 7-2006

As the nation prepares to observe the birth of President George Washington, the Port Authority today announced plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of his most visible namesakes: the George Washington Bridge. To mark the occasion of the bridge’s diamond anniversary, the agency is planning historical and cultural events as well as the long-awaited relighting of the bridge’s towers and a birthday celebration for the bridge on October 25, 2006, the 75th anniversary of its opening date.

“On opening day, the George Washington Bridge was considered a modern marvel and 75 years later, it is still a symbol of the Port Authority’s great history of engineering innovation,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. “Since 1931, this bridge has served billions of people, growing in size and importance, and we look forward to another 75 years of innovation.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The George Washington Bridge is the world’s busiest bridge and one of this country’s most recognized structures. It’s fitting that as we remember George Washington, the bridge’s namesake and a key figure in our country’s history, we kick off a celebration to remember a bridge that is so important to our region.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler said, “At age 75, while some are slowing down, the George Washington Bridge has a bright future ahead. In its first year of operation, it carried 5.5 million vehicles; today it carries nearly 109 million annually. This bridge is a vital part of our region’s transportation network, and an important part of our local economy.”

The George Washington Bridge spans the Hudson River between Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood and the borough of Fort Lee, NJ. It also forms part of U.S. Interstate I-95. Part of the reason for the George Washington Bridge being named for the nation’s founder has to do with the area’s history. Fort Washington and Fort Constitution, in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, were a key part in the defense of the New York and New Jersey colonies under the leadership of George Washington.

The bridge, designed by Othmar H. Ammann, was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it opened to traffic on October 25, 1931. Today, it carries the distinction of being the world’s only 14-lane suspension bridge and home to the world’s largest free-flying flag. The bridge often has been used as an establishing shot for New York City in many movies and is the subject of several books.

In 1981, the George Washington Bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It also has been recognized with numerous other engineering, architectural and design awards.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.


Contact: Tiffany Townsend
Port Authority
212 435-7777

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