The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that the $1.3 billion Bayonne Bridge construction project has been delayed by two years, with completion not expected until mid-2019, to the dismay of city officials.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Navigational clearance at the Bayonne Bridge for the world’s largest container ships under the Port Authority’s “Raise the Roadway” project is now expected in late 2017 and project completion is expected in mid-2019, potentially resulting in an increase in total project costs of approximately 15 percent, the bi-state agency said yesterday.
The $1.3 billion initiative is currently raising the Bayonne Bridge’s existing 151-foot roadway to 215 feet, the same height as the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge under which container ships also pass en route to Port Newark/Elizabeth and Howland Hook, while still maintaining vehicular traffic flow.
The project is under construction by the joint venture of Skanska Koch/Kiewit Infrastructure Co.
Expectedly, city officials were not happy to hear the news, exclaiming that the Port Authority has really let people down by failing to live up to their word.
“This project was sold to the residents as a benefit for the City by the prior administration. Instead, it has been an ongoing struggle with the Port Authority to try and protect the residents of Bayonne,” Mayor Jimmy Davis said in a statement, adding that he remains committed to the residents affected by the project.
“As one of the many residents directly affected by this project, and as an elected official, I am troubled by the continued failure of the Port authority to honor their commitments to the residents of Bayonne,” added Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski.
First Ward Councilman Thomas Cotter also called the announcement “unacceptable,” further stating “the Port Authority essentially did a bait and switch on the residents by promising one thing and delivering another.”
Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye remained positive when addressing the “innovative and challenging” project in a prepared statement.
“The Bayonne Bridge’s ‘Raise the Roadway’ project is one of the most innovative and challenging projects the Port Authority has ever undertaken, and will help maintain our position as the East Coast’s premier port for international trade,” Foye said.
“Although a number of challenges have impacted the project’s timetable, we continue to monitor the Skanska JV’s construction progress and, together with Skanska JV, anticipate completion within the schedule announced today.”
The “Raise the Roadway” project is the first time engineers are constructing a bridge roadway deck above the existing roadway, while also attempting to limit disruption to traffic on the lower deck.
One of the goals of the project is to maintain the integrity of the original historic design that made the 84-year-old span a civil engineering landmark, the Port Authority said.