The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Friday submitted to federal officials a formal request that the Bayonne Bridge “Raise the Roadway” project be considered for expedited review under President Obama‚Äôs Executive Order (EO) on Permitting and Federal Review issued just 24 hours earlier. The Port Authority believes its request to the U.S. Department of Transportation and to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard is the first to be submitted in the country in response to the President‚Äôs newly issued EO.
‚ÄúFor too long, the Port Authority and other public agencies in the region and across the country have been caught in a web of too much process and bureaucracy,‚ÄĚ said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. ‚ÄúI applaud President Obama’s decision to let common sense rule and to encourage coordination, urgency, and accountability for federal permitting processes at a time when critical infrastructure projects are vital to job creation and economic activity. The Port Authority immediately submitted its request given the $1 billion Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway project is an ideal contender for this initiative. We are not building a new bridge but simply raising the roadway and rehabilitating an existing structure. As the Panama Canal widening effort nears completion, every day becomes critically important to our goal of making sure larger cargo ships can access the Port of New York and New Jersey through the Bayonne Bridge. Speed is essential, and I am committed to making the Port Authority faster and more competitive.‚ÄĚ
The Port Authority has committed $1 billion to this project to increase the navigational clearance of the Bayonne Bridge from 151 feet to 215 feet, in anticipation of the Panama Canal widening completion in 2014. This expansion will allow for larger post-Panamax ships to access the region through the Kill Van Kull Channel.
The project is currently undergoing the required Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review with the U.S. Coast Guard, the designated lead federal agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Construction on this project is anticipated to begin in early 2013, pending federal and local environmental reviews.
Dredging Today Staff, March 27, 2012;