Plans to make the Bayonne Bridge friendlier to massive container ships that pass underneath will happen sooner than anticipated—not something you usually hear when it concerns New York City-related infrastructure.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Tuesday that the plan to raise the bridge, which connects Port Richmond in Staten Island to Bayonne in New Jersey, will finish six months ahead of schedule, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The span of the bridge is being raised from the existing 151 feet to 215 feet, while still letting traffic pass over the bridge. Once this upper portion is complete, come June 30 this year, the lower section will be demolished.
This project was originally timed to be complete near the opening of a widened Panama Canal, according to the Wall Street Journal. That happened last summer. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it was forced to push the project back due to weather conditions and engineering issues. The project was set to wrap towards the end of this year, but now it will be complete by the summer.
The delays had already ballooned costs on the project from $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion, which does not include the $2.1 billion the Port Authority and the federal government shelled out to dredge the harbor to make it easier for bigger ships to pass through.
Once the work is complete this summer, some of the world’s largest cargo ships will be able to pass underneath and easily reach container terminals at Newark and Elizabeth, both in New Jersey.
While this upper section will open to vehicles this summer, work on creating pedestrian and bicycle paths will continue until 2019. The Bayonne Bridge is also the bridge of choice for an aerial gondola—that project has been gaining steam in recent months.