The first span of the new $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge connecting Staten Island has opened to traffic, marking the first opening of a major new bridge by the Port Authority (PA) since the Bayonne Bridge was completed in 1931.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is paying for a portion of the new bridges, along with private partner NYNJ Link LLC — a partnership of Macquarie and Kiewit — using a combination of taxpayer funds, federal loans, private bonds and private capital, silive.com reports.
Bridge planning began in 2002 with environmental impact statements and public hearings. Construction started in 2014.
When the second span opens in 2018, each bridge will have three 12-foot lanes, as well as 12-foot outer shoulders and 5-ft. inner shoulders.
The second bridge will have a 10-foot shared use path for bicyclists and pedestrians, and space on both spans will be preserved for future mass transit.
The complete bridge, with a total of 144 stay cables, each up to 450 ft. long and 14 inches in diameter, will unite the roadways with four sets of soaring, V-shaped, 272-foot-tall concrete towers.
The PA has committed approximately $363 million to date, including prior planning, permitting, property acquisition, as well as design and engineering work.
The original bridge opened June 29, 1928 on what would have been the 70th birthday of its namesake, Major Gen. George Washington Goethals.
Goethals, who administered and oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal, served as the PA’s first consulting engineer, silive.com reports. He died shortly before the bridge’s completion.