The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has awarded a $743.3 million contract to a joint venture of Skanska Koch and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. as part of a $1.29 billion program to increase the navigational clearance of the Bayonne Bridge.
The project will raise clearance below the bridge, or "air draft," from 151 feet to 215 feet, so larger ships can call at container terminals in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J., and on Staten Island, N.Y.
The contract announced by the agency's board of commissioners on Wednesday was one of three for bridges connecting New Jersey with Staten Island.
The agency also:
- Awarded a 40-year design-build-finance-maintain contract for a replacement for the Goethals Bridge to NYNJ Link Partnership—a joint venture of Macquarie Infrastructure, Real Assets, and Kiewit Development, together with lead contractors Kiewit Infrastructure, Weeks Marine, and Massman Construction. A $1.5 billion public-private partnership (PPP) will replace the Goethals Bridge with a new state-of-the-art cable-stayed bridge. It is the first new bridge the port authority will build since 1931 when the George Washington Bridge opened. Port authority engineers determined that building a new replacement bridge is a more cost-effective solution than repairing the existing bridge. Construction on the replacement bridge is expected to begin later this year, with initial service commencing in late 2016 and substantial completion of the bridge occurring in late 2017.
- The agency also approved a $15.3 million contract to Crisdel Group to resurface the Outerbridge Crossing, a bridge that is named after the Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, the first chairman of the authority.
The Bayonne Bridge will remain open as it's raised. Engineers will construct a new roadway deck above the existing roadway, while traffic continues to flow on the deck below. Work will start later this year with deck removal scheduled for late 2015. This animated video shows how the bridge project will be accomplished.
The agency noted the bridge will be completed at around the time the enlarged Panama Canal opens, allowing larger ships from Asia using the waterway to call ports on the East Coast.
“We believe that the raised bridge will be a key element in keeping our port competitive,” said Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association (NYSA), adding it will allow a “more efficient and environmentally friendly way to move cargo along the supply chain from the point of origin to the point of destination.”
He noted in the past decade billion of dollars were invested in the port and NYSA, which represents terminal operators in the port and shipping lines, recently negotiated a new six-year labor agreement with the International Longshoremen’s Association that he said NYSA believes is “a turning point in the port’s evolution because it provides the will and the means to address many of the issues which have negative effected the port’s competitiveness and efficiency.”
"The last piece of the puzzle is the Bayonne Bridge and once this project is completed you have all the tools in place necessary to guarantee the success of this thing we call the Port of New York,” Curto said.
The port authority said the port handles 30 percent of all goods shipped to the East Coast, and supports more than 280,000 jobs. - Chris Dupin