WATCH Progress On New York Harbor’s Bayonne Bridge

The Bayonne Bridge is the fifth-longest steel arch bridge in the world, and was the longest in the world at the time of its completion. The bridge is also one of four connecting New Jersey with Staten Island, New York.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has launched a five-year, $1.3 billion project to raise the roadbed within the existing arch to allow larger container ships to pass underneath. The expansion of the Panama Canal was the impetus for the Port Authority’s decision to raise the height of the bridge.

At the moment, 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 to 156 feet (46–48 m) above the Kill Van Kull depending on the tide means that today’s largest ships, which can reach 175 feet (53 m) above the waterline, must fold down antenna masts, take on ballast and/or wait for low tide to pass through. The problem will become more serious now that the Panama Canal expansion project allows larger new-Panamax ships through the canal.