Gov. Phil Murphy (D), U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) came out to the Peninsula City yesterday for the Bayonne Bridge rededication ceremony.
The rededication ceremony marked the end of a $1.7 billion project to raise the span’s roadway to allow the world’s largest container ships to access the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest container port on the East Coast.
“Today marks a new chapter in [the Bayonne Bridge’s] history, not just as a bridge between two states, but as a bridge to greater opportunities for the people of New Jersey and beyond,” Menendez said.
“Deepening our port, expanding our capacity for trade and raising the Bayonne Bridge took years of cooperation between many local, state and federal players. It’s about securing the Port of New York and New Jersey as a gateway for global commerce and jobs in the 21st century.”
Construction on the 88-year-old Bayonne Bridge – a major engineering and historic landmark and the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it first opened in 1931—began in 2013.
The new four-lane roadway and pedestrian/bicycle path was raised from 151 feet above the Kill Van Kull to 215 feet to allow newer, larger cargo ships to travel under the bridge and access port terminals in Elizabeth and Newark.
The higher navigational clearance is estimated to generate 400,000 jobs and billions in economic activity.
“Today, as we rededicate the Bayonne Bridge, we celebrate an improved commute for drivers, increased commerce for the region, and the end of a tremendous project,” Murphy tweeted.
Other dignitaries in attendance included U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), state Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (both D-31), Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Port Authority Board Chair Kevin O’Toole and Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.