NEW YORK (PIX11) — People are on the move between New York and New Jersey.
One hundred million vehicles a year take the George Washington Bridge. But that’s not the only way to get back and forth. For the first time in about six years, a new path across the span is open on the bridge’s north side.
“It’s wide, not like the south side. We can go across the bridge to the Palisades and come back,” said neighbor Paul Chapru.
A fully accessible path was officially opened on the north side of the bridge by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.
“It’s much wider. It doesn’t have the hairpin turns,” said cyclist Mark Posey.
The $2.1 billion restoration of the overall bridge has been underway since 2015. The jobs range from new paint to replacing steel. The project also includes replacing key cables and upgrades to the main suspension structures that hold up the road.
The megaproject officially shifts to the south side as of Wednesday, when that path will close. The work includes the one-by-one replacement of each steel suspender cable.
“The George Washington Bridge serves hundreds of thousands of people on foot and bicycle every year, and these upgrades to the north walk will tremendously improve the experience. These renovations showcase the Port Authority’s commitment to public access and safety at our facilities, by providing vastly improved and widened approach paths to better serve pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity, as well as assure they are accessible by all,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.
Ken Sagrestano is the George Washington Bridge general manager. “The existing infrastructure was 92 years old. We will be able to use this bridge for another hundred years,” he said.
New technology is a part of the bridge. Acoustical monitoring and dehumidification systems are installed on the largest main cables. The process will be done on the south side. Engineers say the technology can alert them to potential issues and prevent corrosion.
The project is set to wrap up in 2027. The bridge has been open to vehicle travel during the work. Lane closures will be scheduled as called for by the construction schedule.