The George Washington Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge spanning the Hudson River, connecting the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City with the borough of Fort Lee in New Jersey. The bridge is named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. As of 2016, the George Washington Bridge carried over 103 million vehicles per year, making it the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge. It is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state government agency that operates infrastructure in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The George Washington Bridge was known as the Fort Lee Bridge or Hudson River Bridge during construction.
The idea of a bridge across the Hudson River was first proposed in 1906, but it was not until 1925 that the state legislatures of New York and New Jersey voted to allow for the planning and construction of such a bridge. The George Washington Bridge was ceremonially dedicated on October 24, 1931, and opened to traffic the next day. The opening of the George Washington Bridge contributed to the development of Bergen County, New Jersey, in which Fort Lee is located. The current upper deck was widened from six to eight lanes in 1946. The six-lane lower deck was constructed beneath the existing span from 1958 to 1962 because of increasing traffic flow.
The George Washington Bridge is an important travel corridor within the New York metropolitan area. It has an upper level that carries four lanes in each direction and a lower level with three lanes in each direction, for a total of 14 lanes of travel. The speed limit on the bridge is 45 mph. The bridge's upper level also carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1/9 cross the river via the bridge. US 46, which lies entirely within New Jersey, terminates halfway across the bridge at the state border with New York. At its eastern terminus in New York City, the bridge continues onto the Trans-Manhattan Expressway.
The George Washington Bridge measures 4,760 feet long and has a main span of 3,500 feet. It had the longest main bridge span in the world at the time of its opening and held this distinction until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.