By Steve Coleman, Media Relations Staff
Under late night cover of darkness, a 130-foot-long, 157,600-pound concrete girder was transported this week across the eastbound span of the new Goethals Bridge – signaling the latest and perhaps most important milestone in the construction of the first new bridge built by the Port Authority since 1931.
Exactly 680 days after the first girder – an enormous precast concrete structure used for building bridges – was paraded across the span on large custom-made motorized dollies, the 192nd and last New York-side girder made the trip on December 7.
“These girders are the backbone of this critical bi-state crossing, providing support for the new bridge deck and the related infrastructure,” said Lou Franco, the senior project manager for the Goethals Bridge Replacement Program. “Now that all the New York girders have been delivered, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel toward the completion of this project by the middle of next year.”
Franco has spent many days and nights on the crossing over the life of the project, dealing with the challenging logistics of building a new bridge while maintaining traffic on the old structure – and most recently on the eastbound half of the new structure that was opened in June.
During the past two years, crews have been tasked with moving and installing girders as long as 175 feet. The largest of the girders weighed in at 231,000 pounds. Before even reaching the bridge, the girders had to be trucked across Interstate 78 from the manufacturing plant in Cressona, Pa., about 125 miles from the Goethals.
Once complete, the state-of-the-art bridge will have three 12-foot lanes along with 12-foot outer shoulders and five-foot inner shoulders on each of its twin spans. The new structure also will feature a 10-foot shared use path for bicyclists and pedestrians. The twin spans also will preserve a corridor for future mass transit between the structures.
With the new structure nearing completion, crews are diligently at work deconstructing the old crossing, which has served as a lifeline linking Staten Island to Elizabeth, N.J. for 89 years. In the coming weeks, the bridge’s signature steel truss structure will be lowered onto a barge and removed from the site, marking the end of a special era in Port Authority history.