Opening elevated roadway marks major milestone in raising Bayonne Bridge

On Monday, February 20, 2017, our Skanska-Kiewit joint venture project team celebrated the opening of the new northbound roadway of the Bayonne Bridge. Connecting New York and New Jersey, the newly opened roadway sits 64 feet higher than the original—nested within the upper reaches of one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world.

After demolition of the lower deck is completed this summer, the new bridge will allow for a total of 215 feet of clearance above the main shipping channel below. The extra clearance is essential in accommodating “New Panamax” ships, which are the latest and largest generation of container vessels named for the newly expanded Panama Canal.

The project is believed to be the first time a new roadway has been constructed above an existing bridge span that also remained fully operational, allowing for traffic to continue underneath. It is one of the most technical engineering challenges Skanska has ever undertaken, and we take great pride in the commitment and ingenuity of our team.

“Skanska is proud of the partnership we forged with Kiewit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the Bayonne Bridge ‘Raise the Roadway’ project, which will soon allow larger cargo ships to enter the ports in New Jersey and Staten Island while also improving the iconic bridge for the travelling public,” said Keith Chouinard, Senior Vice President, Skanska USA. “This is the most significant milestone yet for all of the people involved in this once-in-a-lifetime project—and a giant step towards the project’s completion.”

Each year, approximately 1.5 million vehicles cross the bridge between New York and New Jersey. The completed project will feature a complementary southbound roadway and will provide drivers with a safer and more enjoyable crossing that includes 12-foot lanes, shoulders, a median divider and a 12-foot bike and pedestrian walkway. It also will offer the possibility of future mass transit options.

The Bayonne Bridge originally opened to the public in 1932. At that time, the now-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge was under construction in Australia. Closely replicating the design of the Bayonne Bridge, it measures just 25 inches shorter. To this day, the trusses of these sister bridges are considered two of the world’s most elegant arches, made of a sleek, high-strength alloy steel.

Read an article about our work by Engineering News-Record (ENR) here.

Check out more statistics on our bridge work here.

Watch a time-lapse video from November 2016 here.

The total length of the new bridge will be 7,159.5 ft. The main span remains 1,675 ft.

Our team removed all 152 steel cables supporting the old roadway and replaced them with shorter cables to support the new span.

The gantry crane constructs one rope-supported section of the new roadway at a time.

In 1931, the Bayonne Bridge was the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it opened. Currently, the Bayonne Bridge is the fifth longest steel arch bridge in the world.

Construction on the southbound approach expected to begin after the demolition of existing roadway in 2017.

The “Raise the Roadway” project is being done to enable supersized container ships that use the expanded Panama and Suez canals to pass underneath and reach local ports.

View of New York City from the span of the Bayonne Bridge.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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