The recommended bridge modification and rehabilitation solution is designed to fix the bridge clearance issue, which will 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 neighbourhood impacts. This bridge modification approach also minimises visual and physical impacts to the historic bridge and seeks to preserve the iconic arch, while improving the navigational clearance restriction.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has made the Bayonne Bridge project one of his top priorities, given its critical role in allowing ship traffic to get to terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey, said “Modernising the Bayonne Bridge is essential to maintaining port access for the next generation of vessels and is crucial to the economic future of New Jersey and the region (with) international trade a key piece of our economic development strategy.”
For more than 70 years, the Bayonne Bridge has been an integral part of the region’s transportation network. Its innovative structure and design has been regarded as a major engineering landmark, and in 1985, the bridge was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.