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Cuomo Announces Official ‘Start’ of $1.5B Goethals Replacement

The official start of construction on a $1.5 billion public-private partnership to replace the Goethals Bridge with a state-of-the-art, cable-stayed bridge was announced Wednesday by the Cuomo administration.

The replacement bridge — expected to have a 100-year service life –will connect Staten Island with Elizabeth, N.J.

Construction is estimated to last approximately four years with initial service beginning in late 2016 and substantial completion in late 2017.

The new bridge will include additional wide travel lanes and 12-foot shoulders designed to ease congestion and accommodate higher volumes of traffic in the future. It will be built to include options for future mass transit, a pedestrian/bicycle pathway — and comply with the “Buy American” steel requirement.

It is expected to enhance the efficiency and future growth of the New York Container Terminal, which sits at the mouth of the bridge.

The current bridge will remain open during construction.

“Today we are launching a project that will serve travelers in the New York City region for generations to come,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “The Goethals Bridge is a vital artery of the transportation network that connects millions of commuters throughout the New York City region, and our administration is moving aggressively to make its replacement a reality. After a decade of negotiation, construction on the new bridge is finally moving forward and I look forward to seeing its swift completion.”

Said PA executive director Pat Foye: “After years of environmental and permitting red tape, the Port Authority today begins construction on its first new bridge in 83 years and the entire region will soon see major benefits as a result. Congestion across this major thoroughfare will be lessened for millions of drivers, and thousands of jobs will be created during the construction process.”

It is estimated the four-year project will create more than 2,250 direct construction jobs and generate $224 million in wages and $872 million in economic activity for the region.

Features will include Roadway Weather Information Systems, to collect environmental data such as wind speed, visibility and pavement temperature, and a Traffic Detection System that uses sensors embedded in the roadway to provide alerts on traffic build-up, so incident response plans may be quickly implemented.

Local officials hailed the news.

“The replacement of the Goethals Bridge, will take away that terrifying feeling every Island driver has of passing anyone on the bridge with safer wider lanes and shoulders,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn). “It creates over 2,000 construction jobs and pumps $872 million in economic activity into the area. In conjunction with the Expressway expansion and Verrazano redecking a dream of mine will be realized, as a seamless bus/HOV lane the entire width of Staten Island to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel will smooth our commuters rides to and from work.”

Said state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said: “The Goethals Bridge has served the people of Staten Island and New York well since 1928. At the center of one of the largest air cargo gateways and vehicle crossings in the nation, the bridge no longer meets modern standards of safety and demand. Gov. Cuomo’s announcement to commence the construction of a state-of-the-art replacement for the Goethals Bridge, which will include a myriad of improvements and utilize modern technologies, is great news and will ensure greater convenience and utility for Staten Islanders and the entire region.”

“It is welcomed news that the project to replace the Goethals Bridge with a new state-of-the-art bridge has begun,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island). “This important thoroughfare is a vital connector for Staten Island and essential to our economy moving billions of regional goods each year. It is also important for Staten Islanders to have a dependable infrastructure that provides them with safe travel to and from their homes.”

“The current Goethals Bridge is an antiquated structure that is not sufficient to meet modern traffic standards,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Its shortcomings, including narrow travel lanes and lack of shoulders, have hurt commerce coming into and out of Staten Island and caused numerous Staten Islanders to endure traffic jams during trips onto and off Staten Island. One broken-down vehicle is enough to cause traffic to back up across the length of the Staten Island Expressway. When the new bridge is completed, the larger travel lanes, the addition of a new lane in each direction, and shoulders will alleviate some of the chronic traffic conditions caused by the current bridge’s limitations. This is good news for the New York Container Terminal, which is highly dependent on that bridge, and for the people of Staten Island who will now have a modern, state of the art bridge connecting them to New Jersey.”

Said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.): “The Goethals Bridge replacement project is a critical priority for Staten Island and the New York-New Jersey region because it will ease traffic congestion, boost economic activity and create thousands of jobs. I fought hard to make sure this project stayed on schedule by securing stalled permits from the U.S. Coast Guard, and I am pleased that construction will soon move forward. New York State and the Port Authority deserve great credit for their leadership and commitment to rebuild and update this essential link for our region’s economy.”

“A new Goethals Bridge is a huge asset for New York Container Terminal, the largest private employer on Staten Island,” said Terminal CEO Jim Devine. The new bridge will offer a modern roadway with additional and wider lanes, making it easier for trucks to efficiently enter and exit the port. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his continued leadership and the Port Authority for investing in critical transportation infrastructure on Staten Island that will help make NYCT more competitive and increase jobs for Staten Island and the region.”

Linda Baran, President and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce added: “The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Port Authority’s plan to replace the aging Goethals Bridge with a crossing that will meet the region’s current and future needs. Anyone traversing the Goethals Bridge now can tell you that it is antiquated and congested. Building a new state-of-the-art bridge will create jobs and provide much needed relief to both businesses and residents in our borough. We thank Governor Cuomo for having the foresight to move this significant transportation project forward and for making it a priority.”

The work is being done through an innovative PPP with the NYNJ Link Partnership. NYNJ Link is comprised of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Inc. and Kiewit Development, together with lead contractors Kiewit Infrastructure, Weeks Marine, and Massman Construction.

The partnership allows the agency to maintain control of the asset, while having access to private-sector construction and maintenance expertise, as well as private capital. The agreement will save the Port Authority an estimated 10 percent in combined construction and maintenance costs over the life of the agreement.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners awarded the construction contract for the new Goethals Bridge in April 2013 and pre-construction activity began in December 2013 after more than a decade of planning and environmental review. The Port Authority Board first authorized planning and preparation for an Environmental Impact Statement on a new Goethals Bridge in 2003.

To ensure the speedy delivery of the project, milestone payments to the developer will not begin until the bridge nears completion.

Renderings of the new structure can be found here:

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