The George Washington Bridge, one of the busiest spans on the planet, just got a critical shot in the arm to keep it standing for decades to come. The Port Authority announced yesterday that the 80-year-old bridge will be receiving a half-billion dollar rehabilitation program.
The first round of work, which costs $230 million will include rehabilitating the 178th and 179th Street bus ramps, planning work for the rehabilitation of the Center Avenue and Lemoine Avenue bridges, and planning for rehabilitation work on the bridge’s lower level. The total cost is estimated between $460 and $480 million.
The funding is made possible by last year’s unpopular increase to $12 per car set by the Port Authority last August. Despite toll increases, the bridge continues to handle over 300,000 cars a day and 102 million a year.
“The George Washington Bridge is the busiest crossing in the world and represents the most critical connector of commerce in the Northeast region,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said in a release. “Maintaining this iconic structure goes to the heart of the Port Authority’s mission, both as an engine of economic growth and as a provider of the region’s most important infrastructure.”
Additionally, the work is projected to create over 2,000 jobs and over $700 million in economic stimulus. The Port Authority also plans to set forth another project that will cost even more money and create double the amount of jobs.
The $20 million planning project will pave the way for the hugely expensive task or replacing the bridges cables, a project that will cost between $1 billion and $1.2 billion. The bridge itself originally cost $75 million, which is equivalent to just under $950 million today.
That is a lot of infrastructure.