The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the proposed Goethals Bridge Replacement evaluated the environmental, social, economic impacts of reasonable and feasible alternative actions for the Goethals Bridge. The EIS was prepared under the direction of the United
States Coast Guard in conformance with the National
Environmental Policy Act.
The Goethals Bridge spans the Arthur Kill between Staten Island, New York, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, and provides direct connections between the Staten Island Expressway/West Shore Expressway to the east and the New Jersey Turnpike/NJ Routes 1/9 to the west. The Goethals Bridge corridor is an important link in the regional
The Goethals Bridge, which was opened for traffic in 1928, has become functionally obsolete:
- Narrow lanes: current design standards are for
12-foot-wide lanes (according to the American Association
of State Highway and Transportation Officials), but the
Goethals Bridge lanes are only 10 feet wide (by comparison,
the standard truck cab width is 8’-6). These narrow
lanes result in deteriorating traffic and safety conditions.
- No emergency shoulders: while most roads have
inner and outer shoulders, the Goethals Bridge has none.
Shoulders are useful in clearing accidents to allow the
flow of traffic to proceed.
- Increasing traffic: increasing auto and truck traffic
across the Bridge results in deteriorating traffic conditions
and higher accident rates than on the nearby Outerbridge
Crossing and Bayonne Bridge and higher than average statewide
rates for 4-lane highways in NY and NJ.
- Escalating cost of maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation:
because of the Bridge’s age, it needs ongoing maintenance,
repair, and rehabilitation at escalating costs.
- Limits of current layout: the layout of the Bridge
limits the extent to which traffic flows can be improved
with use of E-ZPass technology (which has improved traffic
at the Bridge’s toll plaza). Also, the layout does
not allow space for any future transit system or priority
lane for transit and ridesharing vehicles across the Bridge.
- Need for reliable truck access: while the Bridge
is a key freight link in the region, its narrow lanes, lack
of emergency shoulders, and other design deficiencies reduce
its reliability for the movement of goods by truck, notably
from the nearby Howland Hook Marine Terminal.
- Need for seismic protection and security: because
of the existing Bridge’s design deficiencies, it does
not have adequate protection for potential seismic hazard
or other security concerns.
- Unreliable link in the region’s transportation
network: the existing Bridge’s limitations make
it an unreliable link, should traffic need to be diverted
from elsewhere due to emergency.
Therefore, The Port Authority of NY and NJ, the project
sponsor, proposed to replace the existing
Bridge. The EIS evaluated bridge-replacement alternatives and the No-Action alternative.
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