ILA Local 1235 Logo

International Longshoremen's Association Local 1235

Bayonne Bridge
Raising Bayonne Bridge will add jobs,
billions in revenue, says Sen. Robert Menendez

By Ana M. Ferrer/The Jersey Journal

Click to view additional pictures from event

Once the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge is raised, an estimated 250,000 jobs and $36 billion in revenue will flow into the region, Sen. Robert Menendez said yesterday morning.

The roadway of the Bayonne Bridge is to be raised 64 feet to 215 feet, which will allow the larger ships that will be coming into the region once the widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2015 to pass underneath.

Menendez was joined yesterday morning at the Dennis P. Collins Park on First Street on the bank of the Kill Van Kull by U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-West New York, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, and other officials to highlight the progress of the “Raise the Roadway” project.

The U.S. Coast Guard gave final approval to the project last week and President Obama has put the project in line to receive fast-track approvals.

In anticipation of the project’s approval, the Port Authority last month approved a $743 million contract for much of the bridge work with a partnership between Skanska Koch Inc. and Kiewit Infrastructure Co.

Officials say the existing roadway will be gone by the time the canal expansion is complete, when a single lane in each direction will open on the new, higher roadway. The new road will be completed in 2017, with two wider lanes each way, shoulders and a center divider.

Once the job is finished, the ports of Elizabeth and Newark will be “the envy of all other ports,” Menendez said.

The increased tonnage that will be able to move through the area will increase the number of port-supporting jobs and will create economic growth in the area, he added.

Sires said the project has been “truly a team effort” between Democrats and Republicans.

Sires said if the bridge wasn’t raised, container ships would be going elsewhere.

Menendez projected $380 million in wages once the project is completed.

Baroni said the project is awaiting its final bridge permits to begin construction and added that the first half of the project, raising the roadway, will be completed to coincide with the completion of the Panama Canal project.