NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The new elevated roadway of the Bayonne Bridge opened to traffic Monday morning.

The bridge connecting Bayonne, New Jersey, to Staten Island has been closed on and off for several years for construction to raise the deck.

Work on the $1.3 billion project to allow bigger cargo ships to reach New York City-area ports began in 2013. The roadway was raised to 215 feet above the Kill van Kull, 64 feet above the original deck.

The previous height limited the size of vessels that could pass underneath on their way to the ports of Newark and Elizabeth. Ships’ masts passed mere feet below the span.

The bridge will use a cashless toll system, using a combination of EZ Pass and mailed tolls.

This is phase one of the plan, CBS2 reported. The new level will only accommodate one lane of traffic in each direction.

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