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 and is 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 our team 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 Senior Vice President Keith Chouinard. “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.

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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Skanska’s bridges by the numbers

Bridges are some of our most eye-catching projects. We build and rehabilitate bridges of all types, from landmarks like the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, Fla., to interstate thoroughfares like Interstate Highway 10 over Florida’s Escambia Bay. We’ve overseen the seismic retrofitting of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in California, construction of the Cooper River Bridge (also known as Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge) in South Carolina, as well as worked on the iconic East River bridges in New York: the Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge).

In celebration of these feats of engineering, here is a look at some of Skanska’s bridge projects, by the numbers.

155 miles per hour: The speed of Hurricane Ivan’s winds that ruined sections of the Interstate Highway 10 twin bridges between Florida’s Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in 2004. Skanska designed and constructed two replacement bridges to stand 25 feet above water, more than twice the height of the original bridges.

215 feet: The height of the Bayonne Bridge after a Skanska joint venture raises the roadway by 64 feet. The bridge’s current 151-foot clearance cannot accommodate the next generation of new Panamax container ships, which will begin service from Asia by about 2015, following the widening of the Panama Canal.

1883: Year the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, was completed. We’re currently reconstructing the approaches and ramps in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

35,000 tons: The amount of waste concrete and asphalt, together with 5,400 tons of recovered steel, that the Skanska team recycled at our 11th Street Bridge replacement project in Washington D.C. Our design-build team performed 70 percent of construction without affecting existing traffic flows.

78,000 vehicles: The number of cars, trucks and motorcycles that cross the Manhattan Bridge each day. The 5,800-foot-long bridge, which spans the East River between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, was built in 1909. Years of use caused rapid deterioration to this historical and architectural monument, forcing the New York City Department of Transportation to initiate a massive reconstruction program. Skanska rehabilitated the bridge’s north spans.

2.5 miles: The length of the Cooper River Bridge. Skanska completed this design-build project in Charleston one year ahead of schedule. The 1,546-foot main span, which is 186 feet above the river, is one of the longest cable-stayed spans in North America.

17.6 miles of bridge/tunnel: The length of over-and-under water Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. We built the bridge-tunnel over three-and-a-half years through a joint venture with four other contractors.

25 feet: The height of Los Angeles’ Gold Line Bridge’s basket-like concrete columns that pay tribute to the indigenous people of the San Gabriel Valley and the oversize iconic roadside traditions of nearby Route 66. Skanska completed the 600-foot-long bridge in 2013.

3.3 million lbs: The weight of the steel Skanska used to strengthen the 350-foot tall main towers of the Williamsburg Bridge, during its rehabilitation and seismic retrofitting. Intermediate towers were strengthened with 1.8 million pounds of steel.

31 million lbs: the weight of extensive structural steel retrofit added to the Richmond-San Rafael Seismic Retrofit Project in California, which included the strengthening of the four-mile long bridge’s truss components and tower legs, the installation of special moment resisting pier frames, installation of seismic isolation bearings, viscous dampers, and seismic restrainers.

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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In Washington D.C., celebrating how our bridge connects communities

11th street bridge DC

These overlooks to the left – built on top of the former bridge’s piers – provide great views of the DC skyline

With two marching bands, a bayonet-tossing Navy drill team, the Washington Nationals’ Teddy mascot and even a fireboat spraying water high into the air, the third and final river span of D.C.’s 11th Street Corridor Design-Build project was inaugurated on Sept. 7. The day was not just to recognize the efforts of our team, which has worked since July 2009 on the project, but to also celebrate the bridge’s improved connection between the Capitol Hill and Anacostia communities.

This bridge for local traffic is the final element of the $284 million first phase of the 11th Street Bridge project, which has improved mobility in southeast D.C. by providing separate bridges for interstate and local traffic; previously, motorists had to use neighborhood streets to connect to and from the freeways, causing much congestion. While this first phase is complete – it was delivered six months early, with the interstate bridges having opened in late 2011 and early 2012 – Skanska’s joint venture team is continuing work on the $90 million second phase, which includes a flyover ramp.

During the ceremony, the marching bands were used to symbolize how the bridge is improving connections between D.C. neighborhoods: the Eastern Senior High School marching band from Capitol Hill to the north started on its side of the bridge and marched to the center, while the Anacostia Senior High School marching band started from the southern end.

Members of the Skanska team were proud to see the city embracing their creation.

“It’s great to give back to the city in this way,” said Brook Brookshire, Skanska vice president. “I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has given so much to this project. Their dedication has made this the world-class infrastructure it is.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Terry Bellamy, director of the District Department of Transportation, praised the project stakeholders for successfully delivering this bridge, the largest project undertaken by DDOT.

“This project has been delivered in an exemplary fashion,” Bellamy said.

Focus on more than cars

More than that catering to cars, the bridge was also designed for pedestrians and cyclists. A 14-foot-wide sidewalk connects to trails on both sides of the river, in contrast to the narrow sidewalk of the previous bridge. Additionally, the piers from the former bridge were salvaged and converted to overlooks with great views of the D.C. skyline; this created a great new community amenity while eliminating the need to demolish and dispose of that structure.

“We’re really excited about the connections to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail – it expands where we can comfortably bike,” said District resident Steve Skripnik, who cycled to the celebration. “We’re impressed to see what a priority the bridge places on pedestrians and bikes – a lot of times that’s an afterthought.”

Greening the bridge

Both the bridge and its construction represent green practices. Our team recovered and reused 100 percent of all concrete and asphalt from the demolition and resurfacing phases. Additionally, highly efficient LED lamps will be used for lighting.

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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