George Washington Bridge

Project description

The George Washington Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the New York City borough of Manhattan with New Jersey across the Hudson River. Named after the first president of the United States, the bridge is believed to be the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge, carrying over 103 million vehicles in 2016 – over 280,000 vehicles per day, and over twice as many axle loads, each impacting on the expansion joints that facilitate the superstructure’s movements.

After 89 years in service, it is planned to do a full replacement of the existing sliding finger expansion joints and substructures, as originally designed by the renown Civil Engineer Othmar Hermann Ammann.

mageba scope

mageba is supplying a total of eight sliding finger joints ranging in longitudinal movements from 18 to 52 inches. The heaviest joint weighs 156,000 pounds (71 tons) once fully assembled. mageba is fabricating the finger plates, as well as the substructures that attach the finger joints to the bridge. The joint substructures are 3 sets of dams (W beams) that connect to the bridge floor beams. The finger plates connect to the outer dams with long bolts through a series of fill plates that provide the required height for assembly. The center dam, is not physically connected to the finger plates, allowing the finger plates to slide over the top stainless steel surface.

The finger plates and substructures will be fully assembled in the shop in lengths of up to 2 bridge lanes, and delivered to site ready to be attached to the bridge, allowing a quick bridge installation during the staging work.


Simulation of a fully installed finger joint on site


Close-up render of the finger expansion joint


Assembly of finger plates over the expansion joint steel substructure


All bolts of the finger plates are tightened firmly – this needs quite a lever


Final trial assembly of the sliding finger joint in the workshop to ensure proper fitting of all components before splitting it in sections for transportation


View of one pair of finger plates and the beam that gives each finger plate sliding support at mid-span


Heavy lifting equipment is needed to load a 21 tons section of this joint onto the truck, to then be transferred into the containers


Loading finger expansion joint sections into the 40’ OT container for its journey to the George Washington Bridge, New York


Installed sliding finger joint with up to 52 in movement capacity under traffic

Key Data


TENSA-FINGER GF finger joints


Movement of 18 to 52 in (457 to 1,320 mm)




New York & New Jersey


Suspension bridge

Main span:

3,500 ft. (1,067 m)


4,760 ft. (1,451 m)




Port Authority of New York & New Jersey


El Sol Contracting & GCOM Construction JV


Modjeski & Masters Engineering