The Old Goethals: What Goes Up, Must Come Down

By Steve Coleman, Media Relations Staff

Literally overnight, one of the iconic pieces of New York’s transportation landscape disappeared this week. Travelers returning home Monday night on the new state-of-the-art Goethals Bridge probably had no idea that history was being made just a few hundred feet to the north.

During the night and well into Tuesday morning, construction crews worked tirelessly to remove the iconic 350-foot mainspan of the old Goethals Bridge.  The bridge, a 1920s-era cantilever span, was built beginning in 1925 under the watchful eye of Port Authority consulting engineer Major General George Washington Goethals. It first opened to traffic in June 1928. Goethals Bridge

Deconstructing the mainspan, which has been a fixture in the skyline for those traveling through Staten Island to the east and on the New Jersey Turnpike to the west, was perhaps even more painstaking than its original construction. The first, and one of the most challenging aspects of the project, was securing U.S. Coast Guard approval to close the Arthur Kill Channel, a major shipping waterway to many privately operated petroleum terminals in New York Harbor, for up to 36 hours.

After receiving approval to close the channel, the mainspan was lowered 135 feet via a jacking and cable system to barges below, a slow, methodical process that took well in excess of 10 hours. Once secured to the barges, the crew had to wait for the appropriate tide in the channel before transporting the steel structure to Port Newark, where it will be dismantled for scrap.

Here’s a time-lapse video on the end of the road for the old mainspan:

Lou Franco, a senior project manager in the Port Authority’s Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department, spent months preparing for the historic move, and now must continue the efforts to demolish the approach roadways that remain on the old Goethals Bridge.

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Senior Project Manager Lou Franco

“The many months of preparation paid off and the task was completed without incident,” Franco said. “While in some ways I was sad seeing the old bridge float away, I was very grateful to be part of such a great team on such a historical moment.”

While one phase of history marked a fitting end this week, work continues on the next piece of history – the full completion of the new Goethals Bridge, the first new crossing built by the Port Authority in more than 80 years.  While one span of the new bridge was opened last June, the entire structure is scheduled for completion in the middle of this year.

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Posted in bridges, Goethals Bridge, Goethals Replacement Bridge

The Port Authority, 2017: A Year in Pictures

Photos by Conrad Barclay, Mike Dombrowski and Rudy King

For the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 2017 brought a new leadership team – Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton – as well as a new bridge, a nearly new bridge and a renewed commitment to the agency’s core transportation mission and the traveling public it serves.

The new bridge (the Goethals) was the first new span built by the Port Authority in 89 years, while the nearly new bridge — the retooled Bayonne with an elevated roadway to accommodate bigger commercial ships bound for Port Authority ports – also made its debut. The Koenig Sphere came home to the World Trade Center. The old Bayonne Bridge roadway came down.

The Port Authority passed an historic $32.2-billion, 10-year capital plan in February that, among other things, will help facilitate the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport into a world-class facility, extend PATH to Newark Liberty International Airport, provide funding toward a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, invest in a new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport and authorize nearly $2 billion in improvements to the George Washington Bridge.

It was also a memorable year for the Port Authority on another front: the recommitment of its people to public service and the traveling public and communities they serve.

That was never more evident than in the agency’s response to the devastation of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Starting in September. Over the course of a month, two deployments of Port Authority police, engineers, aviation, ports and emergency management personnel provided extraordinary assistance to an island desperately in need of it.

Here, in pictures, are some of the highlights of the Port Authority, circa 2017:

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Posted in airports, aviation, breast cancer, breast cancer awareness, bridges, bus terminal, EWR, Goethals Bridge, history, Lincoln Tunnel, PABT, PANYNJ, PAPD, PATH, PATH customer service, Port Authority Bus Terminal, September 11, Staten Island bridges, Stewart International Airport

The Lincoln Tunnel Turns 80

By Rudy King, Media Relations Staff

The Lincoln Tunnel, one of the early marvels of the automotive age, still looks good for an octogenarian.

Opened 80 years ago today, a tunnel that now handles more than 30 million cars and trucks each year is a testament to the countless Port Authority employees over the decades involved in its creation, operation, maintenance and ability to withstand the wear and tear of such a heavily traveled span.

“We salute the staff of dedicated men and women of the  Port Authority who continue to honor the legacy of this great facility with skill and hard work on a daily basis,” said Lincoln Tunnel General Manager Gerard Lindenmeier.

Over its eight decades, the Lincoln Tunnel has proven a vital and resilient connection between New York and Weehawken, N.J., contributing to regional economic stability and growth. The 1.5-mile structure was designed by Norwegian-born civil engineer Ole Singstad, and construction began in 1934 on what would originally be called the Midtown Hudson Tunnel.

The tunnel was designed for two tubes, with the second opening February 1, 1945. But it eventually became clear that two tubes weren’t enough to accommodate the increase in vehicular traffic, and the third tube was opened on May 25, 1957, south of the original pair.

On December 18, 1970, the Port Authority introduced the Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL), the 2.5-mile contra-flow lane along Route 495 considered a traffic breakthrough at the time, and a concept that has been implemented at other tunnels across the United States since then.

For engineering achievements such as the Lincoln Tunnel, statistics often help round out the story. Here are some of the more notable aspects of the span:
• Width of each tunnel roadway: 21 feet, 6 inches
• Operating headroom: 13 feet
• External diameter of tunnel: 31 feet
• Maximum depth from mean high water to roadway: 97 feet
• Length of tunnel (portal to portal):
North tube: 7,482 feet
Center tube: 8,216 feet
South tube: 8,006 feet
• Number of toll lanes: 13

To learn more about the history of the tunnel, visit http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/lincoln-tunnel-history.html

Posted in Uncategorized