Consultant Sought to Study Options and Recommend
Preferred Alternative For Upgrading and Modernizing 75-Year-Old Crossing
The Port Authority has taken the first major step that will help determine the future of the 75-year-old Goethals Bridge by seeking proposals from consultants interested in preparing an environmental review.
The selected consultant will work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard – the lead agency on the environmental review – to prepare an environmental impact statement. It is estimated that the environmental review process will take approximately three years.
The Port Authority is seeking an experienced environmental consultant to review options and recommend a preferred alternative to upgrade and modernize the bridge, which has increasingly required priority repairs and maintenance. Proposals will be accepted until December 18, 2003.
The selection of a preferred alternative as part of the environmental review will help improve customer service, modernize the bridge, provide potential capacity for transit options, and enhance safety and reliability for those using the crossing. The process will include extensive opportunities for public comment, beginning with a public scoping and external outreach process.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The environmental review is a milestone event in our plans to improve the movement of goods and people throughout the region. Our economic strength and our quality of life depend on effectively planning for the future, and the Goethals Bridge is a significant component of the region’s transportation network.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The Goethals Bridge is a critical part of New York’s transportation infrastructure, which in turn is critical to the economic vitality of the region. Its future must be carefully planned so that highway transportation is effectively integrated with other key New York infrastructure, ensuring the efficient movement of goods, services and people.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “The consultant we select for this work will help us begin to plan for the region’s transportation future. Our plans call for extensive state-of-good-repair investments in our bridges and tunnels, which are the backbone of the region’s transportation system.”
A consultant will be hired for the project by the first quarter of 2004. In addition to the preparation of environmental documents, the consultant will be expected to host a series of scoping and outreach meetings in both states.
The Goethals Bridge, which opened in 1928, has two 10-foot lanes in each direction, which do not meet today’s 12-foot-wide highway design standards. The bridge has no shoulders for emergency access. It also serves as the primary route for commercial traffic serving the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, which is the region’s military port of embarkation in the event of a national emergency.
The Port Authority Board originally authorized studies of the future transportation needs between Staten Island and New Jersey in 1988. By 1997, several alternative designs were developed for the Goethals Bridge and a final environmental impact statement was released. Public hearings on the document were held, but the U.S. Coast Guard, the lead agency on the study, did not issue a record of decision due to unresolved stakeholder and constituent concerns.
The Goethals Bridge carries 31 million vehicles each year and provides connections to the New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 1 & 9, the Staten Island Expressway, the West Shore Expressway and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.