Copyright: Jim Henderson

Bayonne Bridge

Crossing the strait between Staten Island, New York and Bayonne in New Jersey, the Bayonne Bridge is the fifth longest steel arch bridge in the world and cost $13 million. The original designs were to have the arch sheathed in granite but due to costs it was omitted and instead manganese steel was used for both the arch and the rivets, making the Bayonne Bridge the first ever to use manganese steel.

In 1931, the bridge received 'The Most Beautiful Steel Bridge' award by the American Institute of Steel Construction. In 1985, the bridge became a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Bayonne Bridge at nightCopyright: Creative Commons Wikipedia

If you look closely you can see a strong resemblance to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but it is not just the look that shares ties. At the opening ceremony the Secretary for Australia attended and took the golden shears used to cut the ribbon back to Australia where they cut the ribbon on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The golden shears' blades were separated and one was sent to the Port of New York Authority.

Dimensionally, the Bayonne Bridge and its 'sister bridge' in Australia is the real difference. The Bayonne is about half the total weight, half as wide but just 7.6m (25ft) longer.

In 2013 refurbishment saw the clearance raised to 66m (215ft) this was because of a new breed of shipping called 'New Panamax' which were bigger than normal. Before the refurbishment big ships had to lower their antenna masts and/or wait for low tide and this was a delay that was costing money. The project cost of $743 million was the cheaper option with other plans that were put forward such as raising the whole bridge, build a newer bridge or remove the bridge and build a tunnel beneath the Kill Van Kull. The image of the Bayonne Bridge had become an important sign for the residents of Staten Island so this may have been considered in the planning. The project was set to be completed by 2015 and would include an increased traffic capacity, walkway and a cycle path. The design has also taken into consideration a light rail to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Staten Island.

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