NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Goethals Bridge Replacement Project is edging towards completion, with plans to open the new span connecting Staten Island and New Jersey in 2017.

The $1.5 billion bridge will replace the existing Goethals Bridge, an aging structure dating back to the 1920s that has now become functionally obsolete.

“It’s been functionally obsolete for quite some time. Those 10-foot lanes just don’t make it in an era, a day, where trucks are eight feet, six inches wide now,” James Blackmore, Program Director for the Goethals Bridge Modernization Program, said.

The new Goethals will feature three 12-foot wide lanes and a large shoulder in both the eastbound and westbound lanes, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The sleek, modern cable design of the new twin-span structure stands in sharp contrast with the old bridge, first built in 1928 — when Staten Island was mostly farmland. 

“It’s going to be an improvement over the existing bridge,” Blackmore said.

The project has been a vision long in the making. Planning for the project began as early as 2002, but actual construction did not get underway until 2014.

“We’re finally in that part of the iceberg where you can see, and we’re building it, and we’re all very relieved,” Blackmore said.

The Port Authority’s plan is to shut down the old Goethals bridge in Spring 2017, and move all traffic to the eastbound span until the westbound span is complete at the end of 2017.

It’s expected to ease congestion along the artery connecting Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey and should improve the flow of commerce for the region’s vital shipping industry.

The bridge is expected to have a 100-year life span.

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