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Officials Announce Details On Bayonne Bridge Lifting

New Height To Allow For New Panamax Ships
Sen. Robert Menendez and other officials in front of the Bayonne Bridge on May 20, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

Sen. Robert Menendez and other officials in front of the Bayonne Bridge on May 20, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - The Bayonne Bridge is about to reach new heights to allow bigger cargo ships up the east coast, such as those that will pass through the new locks of the Panama Canal.

The span will be raised 64 feet to the ships into the ports of Newark and Elizabeth, according to Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith.

“That, in and of itself, will mean the retention and saving of some 250 to 270,000 jobs, and some $36 billion in economic activity,” Smith said Monday.

“With the increased tonnage of post-Panamax ships will come an increase, an acceleration of economic growth,” said Sen. Robert Menendez.

Bill Baroni, Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said drivers will face minor inconveniences because they’ll raise one side of the bridge at a time while letting traffic flow in both directions in the neighboring lane.

“People are going to continue driving back and forth between Staten Island and Bayonne,” Baroni said. “At the same time, we are building an entire new roadway.”

Construction on the bridge could begin as early as the end of the month and is expected to be completed by 2015 at a cost of $1.3 billion.

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