The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded a $743.3 million contract to raise the Bayonne Bridge and clear an impediment to large ships seeking to call at port terminals.
A joint venture of Skanska Koch Inc. and Kiewit Infrastructure won the contract to raise the bridge’s deck by 64 feet, increasing the current 151-foot clearance to 215 feet. The entire project will cost $1.29 billion.
Work is expected to start later this year with construction of a new roadway deck above the existing one, pending completion of environmental review and permits. Vehicular traffic will continue on the existing roadway while the new one is built overhead.
Removal of the existing roadway is scheduled for late 2015. That will clear the way for larger ships to move to and from container terminals at Port Newark-Elizabeth and on Staten Island, N.Y.
The 81-year-old bridge’s clearance has been a top concern for carriers seeking to deploy larger ships on East Coast routes. Many ships have to adjust ballasts and time their entrance to and exit from terminals to catch tides allowing them to sail underneath the bridge.
Separately, the port authority board voted Thursday to authorize a $1.5 billion public-private partnership to NJ Link Partnership to build a new Goethals Bridge to replace the existing 85-year-old span between Elizabeth, N.J., and Staten Island.