Thursday, April 25, 2013

Going Up - Bayonne Bridge raising awarded

1. A familiar Halifax caller, Atlantic Compass, approaches the Bayonne Bridge while heading for Newark Bay.

On April 24 The Port Authority of New York /New Jersey awarded a contract to Skanska Koch Inc/ Kiewit Infrastructure Co  (Joint Venture) to raise the Bayonne Bridge. The $1.29 billion dollar project will see the 1931 vintage bridge with a wider car deck (built above the existing one while traffic still flows). But more importantly it will raise the bridge by 64 feet, making Newark Bay accessible to most of the world's shipping. The new clearance of about 220 feet will exceed that of the Bridge of the Americas across the Panama Canal (201 feet) and will nearly equal the Mubarek Peace Bridge on  the Suez Canal (230 feet).  

The massive project, when combined with the huge dredging project in the Kill van Kull, increasing water depths to 50 feet, will ensure that the container terminals in Newark Bay will remain competitive after the opening of the new Panama Canal.
At the same time the NY/NY Port Authority also announced a replacement of the Goethals Bridge in a Public Private Partnership worth $1.5 billion. The current bridge has a 140 foot clearance, but since it spans the Arthur Kill, a smaller waterway, overhead clearance may not be an issue. However any new bridge will likely be higher.
The Port of Halifax, with two bridges of about 165 feet clearance has long had an edge on New York for larger ships. One of Halifax's container piers, and most of its deep water piers are accessible from the sea without passing under any bridges and that unlimited air draft will keep Halifax in the running foir bigger ships.
Raising the Halifax bridges would pose problems since they are cable suspension bridges, whereas the Bayonne Bridge is a steel arch structure. It will be raised by elevating the bridge piers in Bayonne and Staten Island. 

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