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About the Navigational Clearance Project

Project Background

The Bayonne Bridge, a historic civil engineering landmark designed by Othmar H. Ammann, is the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world, and was the longest in the world at the time of its completion. It connects Bayonne, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York, spanning the Kill Van Kull. Construction began in September 1928 and was completed in 1931. The primary purpose of the bridge was to allow vehicular traffic from Staten Island to reach Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel.

The bridge remains a marvel of 20th Century engineering. But its original roadway, 151 feet above mean high water, prevents the new generation of 21st Century container ships – larger, more efficient and better for the environment – from passing under the bridge to reach our marine terminals - Port Newark and Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal in New Jersey and Howland Hook Marine Terminal in Staten Island.

To that end, the Port Authority’s innovative and ambitious “Raise the Roadway” project is replacing the original roadway with a new one, 215 feet above the Kill van Kull. It marks perhaps the first time that engineers are building a new bridge deck above the existing roadway, while ensuring limited disruption to traffic. The project will maintain the bridge’s steel arch and the integrity of its iconic design, and benefit drivers with a wider, fully modern roadway – and the Port Authority’s first cashless tolling facility.

The new elevated roadway opened to traffic on Monday, February 20, 2017 – an important milestone in this project, which remains on track to achieve navigational clearance for the larger container vessels later in 2017. 

Benefits to our Region

"Raise the Roadway” has significant long-term benefits:

  • The newer, larger vessels, with cleaner and more efficient engines calling on our port ultimately will displace the need for multiple smaller vessel calls, and that will mean cleaner air for our neighbors.
  • Wider lanes, new shoulders, and median safety dividers will upgrade the bridge to current design standards.
  • A bikeway and walkway extending the entire length of the bridge will make traveling the bridge easier for all of us.
  • New piers, a new roadway deck, and new approach roads will ensure that the bridge will last for generations.
  • The new Bayonne Bridge design will allow for future mass transit service.

Investment in the Region

The construction of the new roadway and demolition of the existing roadway represent a significant investment in our region. Early estimates show that from 2014-2018, the project will support nearly 2800 jobs and $240 million in wages throughout the construction industry.

Design

The new design highlights safety and design improvements: wider lanes, shoulders, a median divider, and the potential for future transit options. Watch a video of the new design and staging:


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