BAYONNE AND BEYOND -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced its preferred alternative to provide the most cost-effective solution to the Bayonne Bridge clearance issue -- raising the bridge's roadbed to approximately 215 feet to increase the existing 151-foot navigational clearance restriction.
The recommended bridge modification and rehabilitation solution is designed to fix the bridge clearance issue. If the bridge stayed the way it is now, it would pose a navigational problem for larger ships trying to access the Port of New York and New Jersey after the Panama Canal expands in 2014.
The "Raise the Roadway" solution will involve reconstruction of the existing approaches, ramps, and main span roadway to a higher elevation that would allow the crossing to accommodate larger ships for years to come. The alternative, as compared with others reviewed to replace the bridge, is the most cost effective, and has the fewest environmental and neighborhood impacts, the PA says. This bridge modification approach also minimizes visual and physical impacts to the historic bridge and seeks to preserve the iconic arch, while improving the navigational clearance restriction.
Port Authority staff is currently drilling down on engineering issues for the proposed solution, including roadway design, lane configuration and upgrades to the existing 10-foot-wide lanes, providing median dividers and shoulders, and adding additional safety and security measures. The Port Authority also will work with its regional partners to initiate and expedite the environmental regulatory process.
“I want thank the Port Authority for its diligent work on this pressing issue,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “The ‘Raise the Roadway’ plan provides fiscally appropriate and environmentally sound solution. Modernizing the Bayonne Bridge is essential to maintaining port access for the next generation of transportation and shipping vessels and crucial to the economic future of New Jersey and the region. International trade is a key piece of our economic development strategy, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Port, the Business Action Center’s Office of Global Business Advocacy, and the business community to provide opportunities for New Jersey businesses to compete in the global marketplace.”
Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith said, “The bridge is critical to the circle of mobility in the region. It has become an obstacle to safe navigation in the port so something had to be done. The Port Authority has selected the least disruptive, least expensive and quickest to execute option."