The New York-New Jersey Port Authority says the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge will be raised in time for the arrival of the next generation of extra-large container ships. The $1 billion project has been fast-tracked by the Obama administration, putting it six months ahead of schedule.
The lifting roadbed of the 80-year-old bridge by 64 feet to 215 feet is now set to be done by the fall of 2015. It will allow the world's largest vessels to sail beneath it. Almost all the cargo ships that come to New York pass under the bridge on their way to docking in New Jersey or Staten Island.
The super-container ships will begin arriving in New York Harbor once the Panama Canal is widened, a project the Port Authority says has been delayed until the end of 2015.
That timetable differs from the 2014 project completion date on the website of the Panama Canal Authority. But NY-NJ Port Authority Chairman David Sampson said on a conference call that the administrator of the Panama Canal, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, had stated in an interview on Panamanian TV that eight months of testing of the widened canal would push the completion date back to the end of 2015.
When asked if the Authority confirmed the media report, spokesman Steve Coleman said, "We are routinely in contact with the Panama Canal Authority and we will continue to engage in discussions with them throughout this project."
Coleman also confirmed that the bridge might one day accommodate public transportation. "The raise-the-roadway project design does not preclude a future transit option," he said.