The 82-year-old Bayonne Bridge is getting some work done. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has begun the $1.3 billion process to raise the bridge’s roadway by 64 feet. Why, exactly? Well, to keep up with the times of course.
The finished bridge. (Courtesy Port Authority)
To accommodate larger shipping container–laden boats, the authority decided that the structure, which connects New Jersey with Staten Island, had to be raised. “The expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to result in a shift to larger, cleaner, more-efficient ships servicing our region and other East Coast markets,” explained the Port Authority on its website. “In order to ensure these new ships can reach our ports, the clearance limitation must be addressed.” And, apparently, the quickest and most cost-effective way to address that is to keep the main structure intact and just raise the roadway itself—hence the “Raise the Roadway” project.
When all is said and done, the road’s surface will be 215 feet high and include a 12-foot-wide shared bike lane and pedestrian path. According to the authority, this design also “allows for future mass transit service.” The project is slated to take four years, but the Port Authority is running things, so go ahead and tack on a few more years to that.
In the meantime, check out the authority’s strangely mesmerizing video on the construction process to get a sense of how this will all go down—or, rather, up.