On June 26, a crowd of hundreds of Skanska employees along with union workers and community members gathered with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to celebrate the beginning of the historic Bayonne Bridge “Raise the Roadway” project.
The Skanska-Kiewit joint venture project team will raise the roadway on the Bayonne Bridge by 64 feet for a total of 215 feet of clearance. This will be essential in accommodating the next generation of container ships, called “New Panamax,” which will begin shipping from Asia following the widening of the Panama Canal by 2015. The bridge’s current 151-foot clearance would be an obstacle for allowing these larger ships to pass into the marine terminals west of the bridge.
“Not only will our project achieve a new era of greatness for our port, but a new era of greatness for this region as well,” Christie said during his address.
The Bayonne Bridge is the fifth-longest steel arch bridge in the world and connects Bayonne, N.J., with Staten Island, N.Y. It opened in 1931 and was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1985. Throughout this project, the bridge’s original arch will remain intact.
“The raising of the navigational clearance at the Bayonne Bridge has great historical and economic significance,” said Paul Koch, Skanska vice president. “Through this project we are preserving the historic structure while ensuring the future vitality of the of the area shipping ports by preparing for the larger, modern-era ships.”
The project will position the region to remain a leader in the shipping industry. It will secure the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in commerce that the industry currently brings to the region.
“We are going to get this bridge done and protect the jobs of the people of the state of New Jersey,” Christie said.
The project is not only important to the Northeast region. In July 2012, it was announced that it would be included in the Obama Administration’s We Can’t Wait initiative, because it is both nationally and regionally significant.
The Bayonne Bridge will remain open throughout this project. Our team will build the raised roadway over the existing roadway, which will continue to be used until it is removed after the completion of the new, higher roadway. The project’s first milestone – the 215-foot clearance and partial opening of the new raised roadway – is expected to be reached in December 2015. The project is expected to be completed in May 2017.