Bayonne Bridge: Wikis


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Bayonne Bridge
The Bayonne Bridge, as seen from Port Richmond, Staten Island
Carries 4 lanes of NY 440/NJ 440
Crosses Kill Van Kull
Locale Staten Island, New York and Bayonne, New Jersey
Maintained by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Design Steel Arch bridge
Total length 5,780 feet (1,761.74 m)
Width 85 feet (25.91 m)
Longest span 1,675 feet (510.54 m)
Vertical clearance 14 feet
Clearance below 151 feet (46.03 m)
AADT 20,473 (2008)[1]
Opened November 15, 1931
Toll (southbound) Cars $8.00 Cash, $8.00 peak with (E-ZPass), $6.00 off-peak with (E-ZPass)
Coordinates 40°38′31″N 74°08′31″W / 40.642043°N 74.141965°W / 40.642043; -74.141965Coordinates: 40°38′31″N 74°08′31″W / 40.642043°N 74.141965°W / 40.642043; -74.141965
Bayonne Bridge is located in New York City

The Bayonne Bridge is the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world, and was the longest in the world at the time of its completion. It connects Bayonne, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York, spanning the Kill Van Kull.

The bridge was designed by master bridge-builder Othmar Ammann and the architect Cass Gilbert. It was built by the Port of New York Authority and opened on November 15, 1931, after dedication ceremonies were held the previous day.[2] The primary purpose of the bridge was to allow vehicle traffic from Staten Island to reach Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel.



Ammann, the master bridge builder and chief architect of the Port Authority, chose the steel arch design after rejecting a cantilever and suspension design as expensive and impractical for the site.

The eventual design of the bridge called for a graceful arch that soars 266 feet (69 m) above the Kill Van Kull [3] and supports a road bed for 1,675 feet (511 m) without intermediary piers. The total length of the bridge is 8,640 feet (2,633 m) with a mid-span clearance above the water of 150 feet (46 m). The arch resembles a parabola, but is made up of 40 linear segments.

The design of the steel arch is based on the Hell Gate Bridge designed by Ammann's mentor, Gustav Lindenthal.[citation needed] Gilbert had designed an ornamental granite sheathing over the steelwork as part of the original proposal, but as in the case of the George Washington Bridge, the stone sheathing was eliminated in order to lower the cost of the bridge, leaving the steel trusses exposed. It was the first bridge to employ the use of manganese steel for the main arch ribs and rivets.[4]


Construction on the bridge began in 1928, and eventually cost $13 million. When it opened on November 15, 1931, it was the longest steel arch bridge in the world.[5] It was deliberately built a few feet longer than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which opened the year after.[6]

View from the lower chord (photo: Dave Frieder)

The presence of the Bayonne Bridge ultimately led to the discontinuation of the Bergen Point Ferry.

The supported roadway carries two lanes of traffic in each direction. The roadway deck could accommodate an expansion for either two traffic lanes or two light-rail lanes. A pedestrian walkway, cantilevered from the western side of the roadway, currently provides the only access by foot to Staten Island. The Port Authority also permits bicycle traffic, however the sidewalk ends abruptly at descending stairs on the New Jersey side. Due to safety concerns, bicycle riders are required to walk their bicycles across the bridge.

Tolls are collected on vehicles traveling into Staten Island (there is no toll for vehicles traveling into New Jersey). The car toll is $8.00, though discounts are available for E-ZPass subscribers.

In September 2007, the New York City Transit Authority began a limited-stop bus route (the S89 ) that crosses the bridge. The route's termini are the Hylan Boulevard bus terminal in Eltingville, Staten Island and the 34th Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station in Bayonne. This is the first interstate bus service offered by the MTA.[7]

In 2003, the bridge carried about 20,000 vehicles per day.

Height Problem

Bayonne Bridge at sunset
From Brooklyn Bridge

The span presents a difficult obstacle to large container ships passing under it on the way to and from Newark Bay. Its clearance of between 151 feet (46 m) feet and 156 feet (48 m) feet above the Kill Van Kull depending on the tide means that some of today's ships, which can reach 175 feet (53 m) above the waterline, must fold down antenna masts, take on ballast or wait for low tide to pass through. The problem will become more serious after the Panama Canal expansion project allows larger ships to become commonplace.[8][9] The Port Authority is considering replacing the span, and commissioned a study of the question by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed in 2009, and has authorized up to $10 million for planning and engineering services to develop options to deal with the bridge's low clearance.[10][11] The Army Corps of Engineers study looked at three options to deal with the height-challenged bridge. The quickest option is a $1.3 billion project to jack up the bridge 40 percent above its 150 feet which could be accomplished by 2019 at the earliest. It will need a clearance of 215 feet to handle the new ships. Another option is to build a whole new bridge which would take until 2022. The most expensive option would be to get rid of the bridge altogether and replace it with a tunnel through which traffic would traverse under the Kill Van Kull. This option would take to 2024 to complete. Congressmen from both New York and New Jersey are pressing the Port Authority to act quickly.[9][12]

Appearances in popular culture


  1. ^ "2008 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. Appendix C. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ Staff. "TWO STATES OPEN BAY ONNE BRIDGE, FORMING FIFTH LINK; NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY DEDICATE ANOTHER BRIDGE.", The New York Times, November 15, 1931. Accessed October 28, 2008. "The new $16,000,000 Bayonne Bridge built across the Kill van Kull to Port Richmond, S.I., by the Port of New York Authority was dedicated yesterday and will be opened to traffic this morning at 5 o'clock."
  3. ^ Bayonne Bridge - Historic Overview Accessed September 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Bayonne Bridge ASCE Metropolitan Section. Accessed January 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Staff. "BAYONNE SPAN WINS AWARD FOR BEAUTY; Longest Arch, Over Kill van Kull, Voted Finest of Year in the $1,000,000 Class. PENOBSCOT BRIDGE NAMED Picked by Steel Institute as Best in Class B -- George Washington Bridge Eliminated in Rating.", The New York Times, June 10, 1932. Accessed October 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Kirby, Richard Shelton (1990). Engineering in History. New York: Dover Publications. p. 474. ISBN 0486264122. 
  7. ^ Metropolitan Transportation Authority (July 16, 2007). "MTA NYC Transit Adds Bus Service from Staten Island to Hudson Bergen Light Rail, Advances MTA Commitment to Seamless Regional Transportation". Press release. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (August 13, 2009). "Port Authority Board Approves $10 Million Planning Authorization to Tackle Bayonne Bridge Navigation Issues". Press release. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Hack, Charles (September 28, 2009). "Pressure to Solve". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ Todd, Susan (May 28, 2006). "Once-mighty span is now a tight squeeze for ships: inadequate height has become a costly issue for Port Authority". Staten Island Advance. Newhouse News Service. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. 
  11. ^ Tirschwell, Peter (April 23, 2009). "Bayonne Bridge Replacement Gains Favor". The Journal of Commerce. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ Hack, Charles (September 29, 2009). "Pressing P.A. to Take Action On Raising Bayonne Bridge". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 


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