George Washington Bridge Bus Station Closes for Long-Delayed Upgrade


The George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Upper Manhattan will be shut down for one year, starting Monday morning, as part of its biggest renovation project in five decades.

Buses will continue to arrive and depart from the top level of the building in Washington Heights, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the terminal. But a temporary trailer has been erected next to it to serve as a waiting room with ticketing and other services, as well as a base for Port Authority police and operations personnel.

The changes mean that departing passengers must take a temporary staircase at Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street to reach the bus platform. Arriving passengers can leave their platform by taking an existing staircase to 178th Street. Access to and from the subway will be via the staircase on 177th Street. Pickup for disabled passengers will remain on Fort Washington Avenue.

The closing represents the latest milestone in a much-delayed $183 million upgrade project, the most extensive since the terminal was built in 1963.The project is expected to create 324 jobs and produce $31.7 million in economic activity, the authority said. And in contrast to the current station — a desolate place with little business activity — the new terminal will feature 120,000 square feet of retail space. More than half of that space has been leased by companies such as Marshalls and Blink Fitness, Christopher Valens, a spokesman for the authority, said.

Some elected officials and community leaders had worried that the temporary construction would result in inconvenient road and sidewalk closings, and that the new terminal would not have enough community space for events. But Mr. Valens said many of the issues had been resolved or were under discussion.

The renovation is separate from what the authority is doing at its main bus terminal, in Midtown Manhattan. There, it is spending $90 million on a series of relatively minor improvements, like better cellphone service and cleaner restrooms.

The Midtown bus terminal is one of the world’s busiest, handling 65 million passengers a year. The uptown terminal, by contrast, handles 4.7 million passengers, but is still one of the busier bus stations in the country.