UNION COUNTY,NJ – Drivers traveling between Elizabeth, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York, along the Goethals Bridge this weekend will be in for a pleasant surprise: the new Goethals Bridge will open in stages starting Saturday.
The existing 89-year-old Goethals Bridge with narrow lanes will close at 10 p.m. Friday, June 9. The closure will allow workers to reconfigure access approach lanes for the new bridge.
The new bridge, which is next to the existing bridge, will open to New York-bound traffic late Saturday afternoon and New Jersey-bound traffic late Sunday afternoon.
The Bayonne Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing will remain open throughout the weekend to provide alternative routes for drivers traveling between New Jersey and Staten Island.
The new Goethals Bridge marks the first opening of a major new bridge by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey since the Bayonne Bridge was completed in 1931.
The new $1.5 billion cable-stayed crossing over the Arthur Kill between Staten Island, New York and Elizabeth represents a major upgrade to the region’s infrastructure system and a vast improvement for drivers.
The first of the new Goethals Bridge’s twin spans will carry westbound and eastbound traffic until the second span opens in 2018, when eastbound and westbound traffic will be separated onto the two spans.
When fully completed, the bridge, constructed as part of a private-public partnership with NYNJ Link LLC, will have three 12-foot lanes along with 12-foot inner shoulders and 5-foot inner shoulders on each of the twin spans. The second span also will have a 10-foot shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians. The twin spans also include space for future mass transit.
The Port Authority committed to about $363 million of the $1.5 billion cost, including prior planning, permitting, property acquisition, design and engineering work. The authority will make another $150 million in payments to the developer when certain milestones are met, including the demolition of the old bridge.
Additional payments will be made for capital and maintenance costs over the next 35 years. The Port Authority will operate the new bridge and retain control of the setting and collections of tolls.