NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The magnificent span that connects Fort Lee to Washington Heights, a mesh of wire, steel and concrete, is going to get a much-needed overhaul.
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The George Washington Bridge is 80 years old, and the busiest vehicular bridge in the world. The Port Authority is planning on replacing all 592 vertical suspender ropes that connect the roadway to the massive suspension cables above. Those four main suspension cables will also be cleaned as part of the project.
The Port Authority has authorized $15.5 million to commence the extensive project, which is expected to cost $1 billion and take eight years before it’s done.
Each one of the vertical suspender ropes is made up of 283 wires and can weigh up to 10,000 pounds. Only three of the suspender ropes can be replaced at any one time – any more, and the bridge may become destabilized.
The overhaul is expected to create up to 3,600 jobs, and will be paid for by tolls and fares the Port Authority gathers, the agency said.