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Thread: Bayonne Bridge in Need of Replacement - Designed by Othmar Amma with Cass Gilbert

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    Default Bayonne Bridge in Need of Replacement - Designed by Othmar Amma with Cass Gilbert

    Cutting it close

    Bayonne Bridge's height is trouble for ships and a costly question for the Port Authority
    Friday, May 19, 2006BY SUSAN TODD
    Star-Ledger Staff
    To ship captains around the world, it is known as a bridge too low.
    When the Bayonne Bridge went up 75 years ago, it was hailed as an engineering marvel. The spare, steel span stretched nearly 8,300 feet from Staten Island to New Jersey, with a slender, intricate arch soaring elegantly over the Kill van Kull waterway.
    It was one of the longest arched bridges in the world and for its time, was suitably high. But these days, the Bayonne Bridge is a tight squeeze for the 5,000 container ships that pass under it every year on their way to Port Newark.
    It's also a headache for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which will likely have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the problem during the next decade.
    "Ships have grown tremendously," said Capt. Jim McNamara, chairman of the Maritime Industry Museum at the State University of New York's Maritime College. "It was unimaginable, until only a few years ago, that ships would be so huge. In some cases, ships are clearing the Bayonne Bridge by inches."
    With so little leeway, some ships are forced to wait for the tide to change before they proceed, and shipping companies have installed folding antennas on ships that routinely travel to Port Newark.
    "It's a major concern we have to address every day," said Capt. Ed Sweeney, president of the New Jersey Sandy Hook Pilots Association, which helps ship captains navigate the local waterways. "It's a (problem) even with some of the smaller ships."
    With trade volumes hitting record levels and other East Coast ports aggressively jockeying for more business from Asia, an obstacle is the last thing the Port Authority wants sitting in its entranceway. Eventually, port officials say, the authority will either have to replace the bridge or embark on a more challenging engineering feat to raise it.
    After all, no one is downsizing container ships.

    RENDERED OBSOLETE
    The Bayonne Bridge has a clearance of 151 feet straight down the center. The smallest container ships are skyscraper-sized -- 852 feet long and 145 feet high once their specially designed masts and radar antennas are folded up. The antennas alone can add as much as eight feet to the ship's height. Plus, there are other factors, such as high tides, calculating errors and dredging projects, that can all affect whether a ship actually makes it under the bridge.
    When the Bayonne Bridge was built, a freighter carrying bulk cargo to the port had a height, or air draft, of roughly 100 feet. (In maritime lingo, air draft is the term for the distance between the waterline and the highest point of a ship.)
    During the past decade, container ships have gone through a growth spurt, doubling the amount of cargo they could carry. Vessels crossing the Pacific Ocean today are at least 175 feet tall -- roughly the size of the Barnegat Lighthouse -- and capable of carrying up to 10,000 containers, or box-shaped trailers, packed with consumer goods.
    The giant ships may help reduce the cost of bringing goods halfway across the world, but they are also nudging a whole collection of bridges into obsolescence.
    In Charleston, S.C., the Grace and Pearman bridges, a set of spans on the Cooper River with clearances a foot shorter than the space beneath the Bayonne Bridge, were replaced last summer. The $632 million bridge built to replace them has 35 more feet of clearance, said Byron Miller, public relations director for the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
    The Gerald Desmond Bridge, which opened in California in 1968, remains a worrisome impediment to container ships headed for the Port of Long Beach. The plan is to eventually replace it.
    "We're hoping a new bridge would be about 200 foot high," port spokesman Art Wong said.

    'ONE OPPORTUNITY'
    Like Long Beach, Port Authority officials in New York and New Jersey have limited budgets and lots of priorities. The Bayonne Bridge is considered a long-term issue, meaning it could be addressed -- money permitting -- sometime during the next 15 years. A preliminary study suggested two basic options: Raising the bridge, or replacing it.
    In one scenario, the roadway would be removed in phases and the bridge piers built higher. The road would have to be reconstructed and then the suspension cables replaced with shorter ones to hold the span 35 feet higher above the water, said Tom Wagner, a Port Authority structural engineer.

    There's another issue, too. The channel would have to be closed to ship traffic for a month, Wagner said.
    Either proposal to raise the bridge would take up to three years to complete.
    From a practical standpoint, replacing the bridge has some advantages over raising it. The Port Authority could use it as an opportunity to make other transportation improvements. For instance, Bill Ellis, the assistant director of port planning and development, said a rail line could be added.
    "That's the more likely approach," he said. "You only get one opportunity to do something for the next 100 years." On the other hand, constructing a new bridge may take twice as long as raising it.
    Each of the alternatives is expected to cost at least $500 million, but if additional improvements are done at the same time, the final price of the project could be closer to $1 billion.
    Meanwhile, the Port Authority is dredging the Kill van Kull to make it deeper -- down to 50 feet -- so the newest container ships, which are capable of carrying as many as 10,000 trailer-sized containers, can navigate the channel.

    THE DUNBAR WAITS
    The Maersk Dunbar was one of them. In March, the ship arrived at Sandy Hook in the middle of the afternoon shortly before high tide. At 152 feet, even the ship's collapsible mast didn't provide enough leeway. "It was not going to fit under the bridge," Sweeney said.
    So, the ship remained anchored off Staten Island near Stapleton for roughly six hours, waiting for low tide when it could safely pass under the Bayonne. That sort of delay is just the thing shipping companies want to avoid in their pursuit to deliver time-sensitive goods to customers.
    "You want to protect your customers," said Keith Both, who directs maritime operations for China Shipping. "You want to get in and out in the time you promoted to your customers. That's why they're shipping, to get their goods delivered in a timely fashion."
    At Sandy Hook, the local pilots take nothing for granted. The possibility of miscalculations and tides force them to be cautious before they head into the Kill van Kull.
    "One of the first things we ask is, 'What is your air draft?'" Sweeney said.
    It will only be a matter of time, officials say, before the Port Authority must raise or replace the bridge or face the prospect of losing business to other ports, such as Norfolk, Va., where there are no impediments.
    "If you want the business (of the large container ships)," said Capt. Jon Helmick of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, "then you have to have the infrastructure to accommodate them."

    Susan Todd may be reached at stodd@starledger.com or (973) 392-4125.

  2. #2
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Why replace one bridge with another?
    Did the word TUNNEL ever crossed the PA's mind?
    I know, I know. $$$

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    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    It's a shame because it's such a beautiful bridge. It is beautiful and graceful. I go past the bridge quite often when I'm in Bayonne and going down Kennedy Blvd. ( the road with it in the background in War Of The Worlds) it is quite an impressive site. The Bayonne Bridge is hell of alot more beautiful than the Gotheals or the Outerbridge. Raise the bridge don't replace it and keep New Jersey's Port functioning at a high level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCMAN320
    It's a shame because it's such a beautiful bridge. It is beautiful and graceful. I go past the bridge quite often when I'm in Bayonne and going down Kennedy Blvd. ...The Bayonne Bridge is hell of alot more beautiful than the Gotheals or the Outerbridge. Raise the bridge don't replace it...
    Raising it means raising only the roadway. At thirty-five feet higher, this will have an altered relationhip to the arch from which it hangs. The bridge will get a little less beautiful.

    .

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    Whether the PA raises the roadway or remove the bridge altogether, it will be said to see it go. Hopefully a new bridge would be something that looks as good as the Bayonne Bridge does now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyG
    Hopefully a new bridge would be something that looks as good as the Bayonne Bridge does now.
    That's a tall order, because that's such a fine looking bridge --especially in the context of all that early industrial age trusswork everywhere in the Jersey Meadows.

    If replaced, the bridge will likely be cable-stayed. Such a bridge will be elegant, but it will look like a whole lot of others.

    Not particularly unique, not particularly contextual.

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    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    The Bayonne Bridge is the third largest steel arch bridge in the world by the way. It bigger than the one in Syndney actually.

    It's gonna be tough on the people of Bayonne because that is the one thing they use to identify themselves.
    The bridge is in the cities logos and can be found on anything Bayonne related. What the Brooklyn Bridge is too Brooklyn is what the Bayonne Bridge is to Bayonne, something that is symbolic of them.
    Last edited by JCMAN320; September 15th, 2006 at 02:17 PM.

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    Yes, and I expected this landmark span to be as untouchable as the Brooklyn Bridge. How naive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayonne_Bridge

    http://en.structurae.de/structures/d...fm?ID=s0000008

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    I hope they can raise the Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge is one of the most Beautiful bridges IMO.

    http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/...onneBridge.php

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    A graceful arch. Raising the roadway will be a little like a lady raising a hoopskirt to clear a puddle. Still graceful, but a little awkward.

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    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Bayonne Bridge tight for ships

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006
    By SUSAN TODD
    NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

    To ship captains around the world, it is known as a bridge too low.

    When the Bayonne Bridge went up 75 years ago, it was hailed as an engineering marvel. The spare, steel span stretched nearly 8,300 feet from Staten Island to New Jersey, with a slender, intricate arch soaring elegantly over the Kill van Kull waterway.

    It was one of the longest arched bridges in the world and for its time, was suitably high. But these days, the Bayonne Bridge is a tight squeeze for the 5,000 container ships that pass under it every year on their way to Port Newark.

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will likely have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the problem.

    "Ships have grown tremendously," said Capt. Jim McNamara, chairman of the Maritime Industry Museum at the State University of New York's Maritime College. "It was unimaginable, until only a few years ago, that ships would be so huge. In some cases, ships are clearing the Bayonne Bridge by inches."

    Some ships are forced to wait for the tide to change before they proceed, and shipping companies have installed folding antennas on ships that routinely travel to Port Newark.

    Eventually, port officials say, the authority will either have to replace the bridge or embark on a more challenging engineering feat to raise it.

    The first, and more likely, scenario would be to build a new bridge. This also would allow for other transportation improvements, such as adding a rail line. But it would take up to six years to accomplish, and cost anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion.

    The other option is to raise the bridge, and there are two ways to accomplish that - each taking up to three years.

    The first method would require removing and then replacing the roadway and suspension cables, raising the span 35 feet higher above the water, said Tom Wagner, a Port Authority structural engineer.

    The second method is more involved. The abutments at each end of the bridge would be built higher, and the steel arch would be raised off them.

    Steel cables would be tied to the ends, so the arch would hold its form while the power jacks were raising the arch and the roadway. This method also would require closing ship traffic for up to a month.

  12. #12

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    ^ there is no way they are planning on closing the ship channels for a month. The most likely option would be a new bridge. with perhaps light rail

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    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Default What Would Robert Moses Do?

    Of course, we all know what he would do: tear this one down and build a bigger bridge. And charge the tolls to pay for it (as well as subsidize mass transit). Simple solution, eh?

    Put the hard hats to work! What are we waiting for?

  14. #14

    Default Bayonne Bridge

    The Bayonne Bridge celebrates it's 75th birthday today. I figured it deserves a thread honoring that occasion.

    Last edited by millertime83; November 14th, 2006 at 01:23 PM.

  15. #15

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    It already has a thread.

    Moving post.

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