- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, citing "numerous challenges," announced the Bayonne Bridge "Raise the Roadway" project, originally scheduled for completion in 2017, will not be finished until mid-2019 and predicted that total project costs will increase by 15%. The project aims to raise the navigational clearance under the crossing to 215 feet in order to allow larger, more modern ships to travel underneath.
- Construction on the $1.3 billion bridge project, a joint venture of Skanska Koch/Kiewit Infrastructure Co., began in 2013. With an original projected completion date of 2017, progress, according to the Port Authority, has been hampered by several factors, including a severe 2014-2015 winter, changes in project staging necessary to reduce the impact on the community, and safety modifications that allowed traffic to continue on the bridge during construction.
- Although the project will not be complete until 2019, larger container ships, the Port Authority said, will be able to utilize the bridge’s increased navigational clearance in late 2017.
The Port Authority originally timed the Bayonne Bridge project completion so that the bridge would be able to handle the larger, post-Panamax container ships following the Panama Canal expansion, scheduled to be completed in April 2016 after undergoing its own share of setbacks and delays.
In a statement, Port Authority Director Pat Foye said the "Raise the Roadway" project was one of the most challenging the agency has ever taken on.
"Although a number of challenges have impacted the project's timetable," Foye said, "we continue to monitor the Skanska JV's construction progress and, together with Skanska JV, anticipate completion within the schedule announced today."
Predictably, as reported by NJ.com, local officials in Bayonne did not react well to the news.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis told the loca news site that his concerns are with the residents of Bayonne. "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. Today's announcement is just the latest chapter of the saga we have endured."