The Bayonne Bridge’s new elevated roadway opened to drivers on Monday, ushering in a new era for the 85-year-old arch bridge that is now the Port Authority’s first all-cashless tolling facility.
Steven Plate, the Port Authority’s chief of major capital projects, said, “The Bayonne Bridge, a marvel of 20th century engineering, will become a groundbreaking innovation of the 21st century.ˮ
The new roadway is 215 feet above the Kill van Kull and 64 feet above the original bridge deck.
It is part of the Port Authority’s “Raise the Roadway” initiative to provide navigational clearance for the larger container vessels now using the expanded Panama Canal that are expected to arrive at all agency port facilities later this year.
The project represents a unique engineering achievement, during which the new roadway was built while the existing roadway remained in service with limited disruption to traffic.
Construction on the $1.3 billion bridge project is a joint venture of Skanska Koch and Kiewit Infrastructure Co.
Wioth the opening of the new roadway, the existing toll plaza were be taken out of service and replaced with an overhead gantry, mounted with electronic toll collection equipment.
Drivers no longer slow down or stop at a toll booth, and benefit from being able to continue driving through the crossing at the posted speed limit.
More than 90 percent of Bayonne Bridge drivers already use E-ZPass and they will experience no other changes.
For the less than 10 percent of Bayonne Bridge drivers who do not use E-ZPass, an overhead camera will photograph the vehicle’s license plate and a toll bill will be mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.
At first, the new Bayonne Bridge roadway will continue to accommodate one lane of traffic in each direction.
The new roadway will reach its full width – four 12-foot lanes plus inner and outer shoulders, a median barrier and a 10-foot shared-use path for cyclists and pedestrians – by 2019.
The Bayonne Bridge “Raise the Roadway” project will enable today’s larger, more efficient and more environmentally beneficial container ships to pass beneath the Bayonne Bridge when traveling to Port Newark/Elizabeth and Howland Hook.