The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday released the results of a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers saying the Bayonne Bridge’s low air draft will pose an increasing obstacle for the newest and largest commercial ships in coming decades.
The study, commissioned by the Port Authority, looked at potential solutions, such as establishing a new height of 215 feet either by jacking up the existing 78-year-old span or building a new bridge. Another potential alternative would be building tunnel linking Bayonne and Staten Island.
The port authority re-emphasized its willingness to determine how best to address the navigational limitations posed by the current clearance of 151 to 156 feet between the bridge deck and the Kill van Kull waterway, depending on tides.
It expects increasing numbers of big ships to use its port facilities following an expansion of the Panama Canal, which is slated for completion in 2015.
Port Authority officials already have implemented the Corps’ recommendation that “further planning and environmental analyses by the PANYNJ are warranted for the identification of a preferred project alternative.’’ Last month, the agency authorized a $10 million planning and engineering analysis to determine the best solution for rectifying the Bayonne Bridge problem.
The Port Authority’s planning efforts to identify a preferred alternative will take approximately one-and-a-half years. The initiative also will provide a conceptual engineering study and a preliminary environmental analysis of alternatives.
The Bayonne Bridge Air Draft Analysis completed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers is available on The Port Authority of NY & NJ’s Web site at: http://www.panynj.gov/CommutingTravel/bridges/pdfs/Bayonne-bridge-Air-Draft-Analysis-paper.pdf.