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Bayonne Bridge Rededicated; $1.7 Billion Spent to Raise Bridge's Roadway

Higher navigational clearance sets the stage for unprecedented growth at Port of NY & NJ, bringing more than 400,000 jobs and billions in regional economic activity;


BAYONNE, NJ (Gloucestercitynews.net)(June 16, 2019)The 88-year-old Bayonne Bridge – a major engineering and historic landmark and the longest steel arch Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 14.37.09bridge in the world when it first opened in 1931 – was rededicated June 14, 2019 following the completion of a $1.7 billion project to raise the bridge’s roadway to allow the world’s largest container ships to call on terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The rededication ceremony comes in the midst of a $5.3 billion Port Authority commitment to modernize its four bridges between New York and New Jersey to reduce traffic and improve mobility across the region.

Last June, the Port Authority opened a new $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge linking Elizabeth, NJ and Staten Island – the first new bridge built by the agency in more than 80 years. Funding is in the current 2017-2026 Capital Plan to begin planning for the construction of a new Outerbridge Crossing, the final bridge linking Staten Island and New Jersey that will be rebuilt to 21st Century standards.

Similarly, the ‘Restore the George’ project will invest $1.9 billion to restore and maintain the structural health of the George Washington Bridge for the millions of customers who use it every year. In March, the Port Authority announced completion of the $67 million Palisades Interstate Parkway helix to the bridge – one of 11 major components of the program. And work to replace the bridge’s 592 suspender ropes is well under way. The Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing were the first Port Authority bridges to activate cashless tolling, with the Goethals to follow.

The Bayonne Bridge project was conceived in December 2010 as an innovative way to preserve the historic structure of the bridge while helping the Port of New York and New Jersey remain competitive. The previous navigational clearance of 151 feet only allowed for ships as large as 9,300 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) to pass underneath the Bayonne Bridge. But the new clearance of 215 feet provides enough space for newer, larger cargo ships up to 18,000 TEUs to travel under the bridge and access port terminals in Elizabeth and Newark, NJ and on Staten Island.

In addition to the maritime business, the new bridge also benefits the traveling public, cyclists and pedestrians. The 1,651-foot-long, four-lane roadway consists of two, 12-foot state-of-the-art lanes plus shoulders in each direction. And at the end of last month, a 12-foot-wide, 8,400-foot long shared use pedestrian/bicycle path opened on the bridge, providing cyclists and pedestrians with an environmentally friendly mode of travel between Bayonne, NJ and Staten Island, NY.

“When legendary engineer Othmar Ammann first designed this bridge, it was widely heralded as an unprecedented engineering marvel,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Today’s completion of this major $1.7 billion project is a testament to the expertise and creativity of this generation’s engineers and is further evidence of the agency’s nearly 100-year-old legacy as the builder of great transportation projects.”

“This project, coupled with our $1.5 billion investment to build a new Goethals Bridge, is indicative of this agency’s priority to bring its transportation infrastructure up to state-of-the-art global standards,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The new bridge not only provides a significant benefit for the traveling public, cyclists and pedestrians, but has spurred unprecedented record growth at the port far beyond what was forecast only a few years ago.”

“The Port Authority was created on the premise that regional cooperation and collaboration is how we build the strong and interconnected infrastructure needed to move our states forward together,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “The Bayonne Bridge shows the power of this partnership. We didn’t just raise a steel bridge 64 feet; we raised the bar on what can be done when we work together.”

“Deepening our port, expanding our capacity for trade and raising the Bayonne Bridge took years of cooperation between many local, state and federal players,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who worked with Congressman Sires and the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg on behalf of the New Jersey delegation to convince President Obama to give the Bayonne Bridge project expedited status. “Today, the Port Authority will tell you that our efforts are already paying off. Record cargo volumes are coming in and out of our port each year. After decades of effort, we have solidified our port as an engine for economic growth and jobs for the region and the nation.”

“Now completed, the raising of the Bayonne Bridge is an example of a vital infrastructure project that not only increases regional mobility to benefit the third largest port in the U.S., but also spurs local economic growth,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “As we celebrate the final capstone of this project, we’ll continue to advocate for federal investments in our nation’s ports and in the Port of New Jersey to enhance the movement of people and goods and drive economic productivity.”

“Having the Bayonne Bridge raised has been a priority of mine since I began my service in the United States Congress back in 2006,” said U.S. Representative Albio Sires. “For years, I worked with Senators Menendez and Booker and the White House to get the Bayonne Bridge the resources it needed to get the job done. When the project faced possible setbacks or regulatory hurdles, we pressed for timely and favorable resolution to protect the traffic and commerce that is generated by keeping the Bayonne Bridge operational. The project’s completion and this rededication event are a triumph for Bayonne and the entire region, and I am proud to have played a part in it.”

“If we did not raise the Bayonne Bridge, our ports would no longer be competitive with other ports along the East Coast,” said U.S. Representative Donald Payne, Jr. “Our port facilities have experienced unbelievable record cargo growth since the bridge was raised, creating jobs and billions in economic activity.”

“The Bayonne Bridge does more than connect New Jersey to Staten Island; it connects people to jobs,” said New Jersey State Senator Sandra Cunningham. “Thousands of real, quality jobs in our surrounding communities, from the investments companies make here because of our infrastructure connects them to markets and consumers.”

“For those of us who live and work in Bayonne, this project has been a challenge but one that will provide a greater good for our community,” said Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti. “I’d like to personally thank my fellow residents for their patience and understanding throughout this six-year project and want to ensure you that the crossing and the new shared use path will be a lasting benefit for all of us.”

“The much-anticipated completion of Bayonne Bridge improvements will benefit Staten Islanders on all fronts, from those traveling by car to and from New Jersey, to those looking to take advantage of our waterfront with the cyclist and pedestrian pathways, to those benefitting from the our ‘Jobs Coast’ now that the bridge has been raised to allow the world’s largest container ships to call on our terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Our port facilities are expanding and I am grateful to see our communities are capable of handling and expanding with it. This is a good thing,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.

“Today we celebrate the completion of a massive infrastructure project that strengthens the Port of New York and New Jersey and our transportation network for future generations,” said New York City Councilwoman Deborah Rose. “The raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadway was an impressive feat of engineering that I have watched almost every day for the past five years. I celebrate this accomplishment with the Port Authority, and I look forward to a healthy economic future for our waterfront.”

“The Bayonne Bridge is part of the fabric of my city,” said Bayonne Mayor James Davis. “It’s a symbol of the strength and vision of the people of New Jersey. This new bridge respects that tradition – its beautiful steel arch still spans across the Kill Van Kull, but the roadway is higher. It’s adapted for the future, just like New Jerseyans.”

Construction of the Bayonne Bridge project began in late 2013 following an expedited environmental review process under President Obama’s Executive Order on Permitting and Federal Review. On February 20, 2017, the first span of the bridge opened for bi-directional travel. On June 8, 2017, the 215 feet of navigational clearance was achieved.

Since the bridge’s navigational clearance was achieved, the Port of New York and New Jersey has seen a dramatic increase in the size of vessels calling on the port, with more than 26 percent of all containerized cargo at the port now carried on vessels with the capacity to handle 10,000 or more TEUs, an increase from 4 percent before the navigational clearance was achieved. During the first four months of 2019, cargo volumes at the port are growing at record levels, 7.5 percent over the previous record highs for that four-month period set in 2018.

The Bayonne Bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1985. It was listed as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Its “sister” bridge is the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia.



Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.

 

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