90 years ago on October 24th, 1931
The upper level of the George Washington Bridge is opened in a dedication ceremony, and opens to traffic the next day
The ceremony included an air show by military airplanes and speeches from New Jersey governor Morgan Foster Larson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time. Before opening to traffic, pedestrians were allowed to walk across the roadway, and on opening day, 55,523 vehicles, 33,540 pedestrians, and one man on a horse crossed the bridge, paying 25¢ per vehicle and 10¢ per pedestrian, equivalent to about $4 and $1.70 today. During the first year, 5.5 million vehicles used the bridge to travel between New York and New Jersey. The new bridge would hold the title for the world's longest suspension bridge until the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, which was 700 feet longer. Unlike many infrastructure projects, the bridge was actually completed eight months early and under budget.
The bridge is named after the nation's first president, George Washington, in remembrance of his crossing of the Hudson River at the point between Fort Lee and Washington Heights.
Although 1931 marked the opening day of the bridge, extra capacity was added over the years, with two additional center lanes added in 1946 and the lower level added by 1962.
As of 2018, the bridge carries an average of 10 million vehicle crossings per month, and is the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world.
If you drive across the bridge on a select number of national holidays you may get to see the largest free-flying flag in the world, a 60 ft by 90 ft American flag which is suspended over the roadway at the western tower when weather and winds allow.
Here's the United States Marine Band conducted by Leonard Slatkin playing William Schuman's 1950 composition "George Washington Bridge", where Schuman set to music his feelings of crossing the bridge and observing it throughout the day.