Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an historic bridge construction program at today’s meeting of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners.
The program includes three of the bi-state agency’s bridges that link New York and New Jersey, with two of the three being substantial, large-scale projects that include building a new bridge to replace the current span and raising the roadway of an existing bridge. The bridges are the Goethals Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing, which all connect Staten Island to northern New Jersey.
It is the first time in more than 80 years that the agency will build a new bridge and the first time ever that engineers will build a bridge’s roadbed above the existing roadway, while traffic continues to flow on the deck below.
Construction on all three projects is expected to begin this year.
“These projects are tremendously important to New Jersey and the region,” said Gov. Christie. “They will put thousands of hardworking men and women to work, secure the Port of New York and New Jersey’s role as the premier port and economic engine of the East Coast, and provide New Jersey residents with modern bridge spans that will improve safety and benefit commuters for years to come.”
“By investing in critical infrastructure projects, the Port Authority is renewing its commitment to refocus on its core mission,” said Gov. Cuomo. “Employing a public-private partnership to build a new Goethals Bridge and utilizing unique engineering strategies to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge demonstrate our ability to build major transportation infrastructure in a smart and cost effective manner. This action will create thousands of jobs and serve as a major economic boost for New York and New Jersey.”
Building a New Goethals Bridge to Replace the Current Span
The Board is expected to award a 40-year design-build-finance-maintain contract as part of a $1.5 billion public-private partnership to build a new Goethals Bridge to replace the existing structure. The new bridge will include wider travel lanes that will ease congestion and accommodate anticipated future traffic volumes as well as restore pedestrian access with a pedestrian/bicycle pathway. The bridge will be constructed to allow for mass transit options in the future. Once the new bridge is completed, crews will remove the current span.
Work is expected to begin this year, with the bridge first opening to traffic in 2016 and substantial completion expected in 2017.
Raising the Roadway of the Bayonne Bridge
The Board also is expected to award a contract as part of a $1.29 billion program to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge. The project will increase the bridge’s navigational clearance to allow larger, more efficient and environmentally friendly post-Panamax container ships to pass beneath. The new roadway will feature widened lanes, shoulders and a 12-foot bike/pedestrian walkway and provide the ability to include mass transit options in the future.
Work is expected to commence immediately after the completion of the Coast Guard’s environmental review process and the receipt of required permits, with crews beginning to build a new elevated roadway 64 feet above the existing deck. Once completed, the Bayonne Bridge roadway will be 215 feet above the Kill Van Kull waterway, allowing larger cargo ships to pass beneath. The Port Authority is expediting the work to coincide with the widening of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be done in 2015. The project will ensure the port maintains its position as the largest port on the East Coast and third largest in the country.
Resurfacing the Outerbridge Crossing
Also on the agenda for the Port Authority Board of Commissioners to consider is a contract award to resurface the Outerbridge Crossing.
Replacement of the pavement is intended to avoid the potential for costly emergency repairs, which could lead to unplanned closures and negative impacts on the traveling public. The work is expected to take place later this year and estimated to be completed in 2013.