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$2B George Washington Bridge restoration passes midway point

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Dive Brief:

  • The 92-year-old George Washington Bridge’s $2 billion comprehensive restoration program recently surpassed the halfway mark, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
  • Significant improvements have already been made to the double-decked suspension bridge, including the widening and enhancement of the shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians on the north side of the bridge, with construction for the south side path still ongoing.
  • Continuation of the 11-project restoration program is a part of PANYNJ’s $9.3 billion 2024 budget, which includes about $3.6 billion in capital expenses. The first project in the restoration program began in 2013, with the rehabilitation of cable strands in anchorages. 

Dive Insight:

Rehabilitation work on the Trans-Manhattan Expressway, as well as upgrades to the bridge roadway itself, such as the replacement of upper-level roadway finger joints and deck panels, have been officially completed, according to the PANYNJ. The bridge spans the Hudson River, connecting Bergen County, New Jersey, with the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

The lower level’s eastbound lanes and the upper level’s westbound stretch over Hudson Terrace have been rehabilitated, while the new helix ramp from the Palisades Interstate Parkway is complete.

The 11-part program includes critical rehabilitation work for the steel ropes and cables on the bridge, which support the weight of the bridge deck and traffic. Workers are now close to completing the replacement of each of the nearly 600 vertical suspender cables across the bridge. 

On the south side, more than half of the steel cable ropes have been replaced. This phase is expected to complete in 2026. Other projects within the “Restoring the George” program include:

  • Rehabilitation of the 178th and 179th street ramps — 75% complete.
  • Rehabilitation of the Center and Lemoine Avenue bridges — 15% complete.
  • Rehabilitation of lower-level steel, repainting and replacement of movable platforms — 12% complete.
  • Full replacement of the upper-level eastbound roadway pavement will start this month.
  • Rehabilitation or replacement of components of Fort Washington Avenue, Broadway, Wadsworth Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue, Audubon Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue bridges over the Trans-Manhattan Expressway are under design, with construction slated to start in 2025.

Spending on highway and street projects, which includes bridge work, continues to post gains in 2024, according to Associated Builders and Contractors’ analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The category jumped 20% over the past 12 months ending in March, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, spending on public projects overall, which includes infrastructure work, hit $471.5 billion in March, a nearly 18% jump from the year prior. 

For the New York area, the PANYNJ’s approved $3.6 billion capital budget reflects a return to pre-COVID levels following several years of reduced spending, according to a release. 

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