Work to remove the lower roadway of the Bayonne Bridge, allowing bigger cargo ships to reach New York City-area ports, will be completed six months ahead of schedule, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday.
The Republican governor said the work, part of a $1.6 billion project, is expected to be done by June 30.
The Bayonne Bridge currently has a navigational clearance of 151 ft. The newly raised roadway will provide a clearance of 215 ft—the same as the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York.
The previous height limited the size of vessels that could pass underneath on the way to the New Jersey ports of Newark and Elizabeth. Ships' masts passed mere feet below the span. Officials say the larger ships will reduce operating costs for shipping lines. The larger ships are expected to be able to pass under later this year.
The new roadway has wider lanes and a median.
The Bayonne Bridge is the first Port Authority bridge to use cashless tolls, where drivers either use the E-ZPass electronic toll collection system or get a bill in the mail.