Back in 1931, when the Bayonne Bridge opened, a 151-foot span was plenty high for the world’s biggest cargo ships. Nearly 85 years later, ship antennas are scraping the bottom of the bridge, and soon enough the span won’t be high enough for the newest era of cargo container ships.
What to do? “Raise the Roadway,’’ what else?
Watch below to find out how Port Authority engineers have devised an ingenious plan for bringing the current bridge roadway deck up 64 feet, with the new 215-foot height equivalent to the nearby Verrazano Bridge. The new height will accommodate the larger post-Panamax era of ships. The Bayonne is the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world. It connects Bayonne, New Jersey with Staten Island NewYork, spanning the Kill Van Kull.
As an icon and architectural masterpiece designed by the genius Bridge Engineer, Othmar Ammann, the majestic arched bridge held the distinction of being the longest span bridge in the world for 45 years. The Port Authority’s talented team of bridge engineers and project managers are achieving an engineering marvel of historic preservation on the Raise the Roadway project in a way never done before.
They’re retrofitting an entirely new bridge structure within the historical frame of the existing bridge. What’s even more amazing is that traffic has been maintained throughout construction all while minimizing the impact on the environment, the traveling public and the neighboring community.
Today, because the bridge is only 151 feet above the water, larger container ships often cannot cross under it to reach our marine terminals – Port Newark, Elizabeth and Howland Hook in Staten Island. Shippers who rely on our ports for access to a regional transportation network are forced to use other smaller, less-efficient and less environmentally friendly ships to bring goods into our region.