BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Work has begun on a project to create a higher deck for the Bayonne Bridge, one that can accommodate the larger ships that will pass through the new locks of the Panama Canal.
Gov. Chris Christie and Port Authority Chairman David Samson rallied with workers on Wednesday.
The Bayonne Bridge project is expected to bring 2,500 construction jobs and even more business to the area when it’s completed, WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reported.
“When we have this bridge lifted and those new ships can come through, they know they want to come to our ports because our ports are some of the best ports in the world,” Christie said.
Samson said the bridge deck will go from the current 151 feet to 215 feet. The old bridge deck removal is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2015.
The new deck will be constructed above the old deck, with at least one lane flowing in each direction through the length of the project, though there may be some overnight and weekend closures of the bridge.
The cost has been estimated at $1.3 billion.
Work on the Bayonne Bridge will be happening at the same time as the Goethals Bridge is replaced with a new cable-stayed bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing undergoes resurfacing.
The Port Authority said that “substantial completion” of the new Goethals Bridge was slated for sometime in 2017.
Samson said that his agency will work to manage traffic between Staten Island and New Jersey during construction.
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