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Worlds Most Congested, Scariest Auto Bridge Turns 90 Years Old This Month

If there are three words that strike fear and anxiety into the hearts and minds of New York City motorists, it’s “George Washington Bridge” in that exact order. This month, the most expensive, congested, busiest, and – some would argue – the scariest automobile bridge in the world celebrates 90 years of traffic jams, headaches, scandals, outrageous toll prices, and hideous accidents.
GWB 8 photos
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To celebrate the momentous occasion, New York Governor Kathy Hochul sent out a celebratory tweet: “The George Washington Bridge is more than just a bridge, it's an integral part of our region's economy. Congratulations on 90 years of service and happy birthday GWB,” Hochul said on Twitter.

With this tweet, it was clear that New York’s head of state was a native of Upstate New York and not New York City. Or her feeling towards the infamous bridge would be far less rosy. 

The 4,760 foot (1,450 m) long 604 foot (65m) tall bridge that spans the Hudson River from Western Manhattan into Fort Lee in Eastern New Jersey began construction in 1927. The bridge was first opened to the public in 1931 and an extra lower level to the bridge was added in the late 1950s. It wouldn’t take long to gain a notorious reputation.

Over the last nine decades, the bridge has been host to traffic jams that stretch for miles, dozens of fatal car accidents, and more than its fair share of suicides. The constant onslaught of traffic filled with drivers on the ragged edge of road rage makes police access to incidents on the bridge difficult and dangerous.

Then, of course, there’s the absolute unmitigated disaster that’s come to be called Bridgegate, in which then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered the New Jersey side of the GWB’s upper level closed to the public without so much as a single warning given to motorists, or New York City authorities.

Ostensibly done in the name of political warfare, the incident left a permanent stain on the career of Governor Christie and saw his aspirations for a presidential run in 2016 go up in smoke. Just another piece of collateral damage for a bridge that is constantly at the center of controversy.

It’s just another chapter in the history of a bridge undoubtedly vital to the hustle and bustle of NYC life, but also a pain in the rear end for anyone who dares drive across it. On top of that, drivers have to pay $16 to get from New Jersey to New York, just for the privilege to drive over it. Don't you dare consider not paying the toll or the City of New York will make you regret ever driving within eyeshot of the bridge.


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