Tourists and history lovers alike love the interesting facts about the George Washington Bridge. There is certainly no lack of interesting facts about the George Washington Bridge. Here are the five most unusual.
1. Save radio fans jumper
Fans of Howard Stern were called into action on December 7, 1994. A young man called Stern’s radio show and announced that he was about to jump off the George Washington Bridge. Westbound listeners stopped his car and tried to reject him. A Port Authority police officer who was listening to Stern rescued the man, then used the jumper’s cell phone to tell Stern and his audience that the man was safe.
2. Deviations from flight plans
Christmas Day 1965 shocked motorists on the George Washington Bridge as a small plane crashed into a westbound lane. A young pilot skimmed into his pre-flight and dropped the fuel cap. There is an old pilot saying, “A good landing is where you go away. An excellent landing is where you can use the plane again.” This was a good landing, as the pilot and his passenger suffered only minor injuries. However, since the plane crashed it had fallen short into a great landing. He also clips a truck whose driver must have had fun explaining to his dispatcher why he was late and damaged his rig. Another flight surprise came to motorists on January 15, 2009, when US Airways Flight 1549 landed on them. Pilot Chesley Sulenberger managed to remove the bridge just 900 feet before digging in Hudson.
3. What’s in a name?
Local newspapers demanded a more investigative name than the original Hudson River Bridge. His suggestions include Beast and Mother’s Bridge, Bridge of Prosperity, Gate of Paradise and Pride of the Nation. However, only New York City schoolchildren managed to lobby for a renaming in honor of George Washington. The name is particularly appropriate, as the Manhattan end of the bridge is near Fort Washington, from where Washington once withdrew its forces toward Fort Lee – near the New Jersey end of the bridge.
4. The heaviest traffic in the world
The day the George Washington Bridge was opened, there were 55,000 vehicles, 33,000 pedestrians and a horseman named Rubio on horseback. The bridge now carries an estimated 106 million vehicles annually – an average of about 300,000 per day, the highest of any motor vehicle bridge in the world. Pedestrians, as well as roller skaters and cyclists, still pass over the upper deck.
5. Unwanted dumping ground
With all that traffic, an accident is inevitable. Often the trucks overturn and cover their luggage. Unscheduled deliveries include beer, frozen chicken parts and watermelon. A truck freed a herd of goats that had descended from the alleys. Another truck treated motorists and bridge crews to release compost when it failed to contain its compost load.