Army Corps: Bayonne Bridge an impediment to future shipping

The following is the text of a press release issued by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey:
(NEW YORK) — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today released the results of a study completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that found the Bayonne Bridge’s height will pose an increasing obstacle for the newest and largest commercial ships in the coming decades.

Officials with the bi-state agency re-emphasized their 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. Increasing numbers of big ships are anticipated at our port facilities following an expansion of the Panama Canal, which is slated for completion in 2015.

That 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 to be looked at is to build a tunnel linking Bayonne and Staten Island.

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’s clearance problem.

“We thank the Corps for its independent analysis of the Bayonne Bridge clearance problem and have acted on its recommendation by launching a review of possible solutions,” said Anthony Coscia, the Port Authority’s chairman. “Our agency was founded – first and foremost – to enhance the region’s port facilities and we pledge our resources to ensuring that commerce thrives along the Kill van Kull.”

“We appreciate the work of the Army Corps and Coast Guard to help address the future of the Bayonne Bridge,’’ said Christopher O. Ward, the Port Authority’s executive director. “We must carefully explore all options and find the best, most cost-effective way to address this challenge.’’

“We are committed to finding a resolution to the Bayonne Bridge’s height issues that keeps the region’s port operations among the nation’s busiest,” said Susan Bass Levin, the agency’s deputy executive director. “Planning wisely to ensure the continued flow of commerce to and from our ports is not only critical to the long-term growth of our region, but also to the nation’s future economic viability.”

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:

By Professional Mariner Staff