Work is Projected to Create Over 2, 000 Jobs and US$704 Million in Economic Activity
The Port Authority announced yesterday what will be a nearly half a billion dollar program to rehabilitate the George Washington Bridge. The program represents the largest rehabilitation to date on the 80-year-old crossing, and is made possible by the toll increase authorized by the Port Authority in August 2011. The bridge opened in 1931 and a second level was built below the main deck in 1962 to handle the region’s rapid growth.
The agency’s Board of Commissioners has taken action to facilitate the intensive bridge rehabilitation program. The Board’s actions included a project to rehabilitate the 178th and 179th Street and bus ramps, planning work for the rehabilitation of the Center Avenue and Lemoine Avenue bridges, and planning for rehabilitation work on the bridge’s lower level. The investments approved today cost an estimated $230 million; ultimately, the three projects are estimated to cost between $460 and $480 million.
In addition to these projects, the Board authorized a $20 million planning project in December 2011 to replace the George Washington Bridge’s steel suspender ropes. That project is anticipated to cost between $1 and $1.2 billion and is projected to generate nearly 4, 000 jobs and more than one billion in economic activity.
“The George Washington Bridge is the busiest crossing in the world and represents the most critical connector of commerce in the Northeast region, ” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “Maintaining this iconic structure goes to the heart of the Port Authority’s mission, both as an engine of economic growth and as a provider of the region’s most important infrastructure.”
“These projects are core to the mission of the Port Authority of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure that will ensure the efficient, safe movement of people and goods in the New York New Jersey region, ” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “These are important assets to the Port Authority, and as stewards of the public’s infrastructure we must maintain and preserve them for future generations.”
Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “Every day, more than 300, 000 people use this bridge to get to work, to shop or to visit friends on both sides of the Hudson. In 2010 alone, the bridge handled some 102 million vehicles on its two levels, toll plazas and toll lanes. It is critical therefore that we invest in this program to ensure this vital asset for the region continues to serve the region for years to come.”
Recent engineering studies have indicated that the 178th and 179th Street ramps, two associated bus ramps and the bus connector ramp structure that links these elevated areas must be rehabilitated. The street ramps were built in 1931 and last underwent a comprehensive rehaliltation more than 20 years ago. The bus ramps and associated connector ramp were built in 1958 and last had work on them in the late 1980s. The work on these ramps is projected to cost $218.8 million and is estimated to create 1, 013 jobs, $72 million in wages, and $334 in economic activity.
The Center Avenue and Lemoine Avenue bridges also are in need of repair work. They were created in stages between 1935 and 1965. The Center Avenue Bridge last underwent rehabilitation in the late 1980s. The Lemoine Avenue Bridge was partially rehabilitated in the late 1990s. The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $45 and $50 million. It is anticipated to produce 250 total jobs, $16 million in wages, and $73 million in economic activity.
In addition to the street and bus ramps and bridges work, recent engineering inspections have identified the need for steel repair, paint removal, and repainting of the bridge’s lower level. Completed in 1962, the lower span still contains much of its original lead-based paint, which is no longer providing adequate protection. The first phase of the project is expected to begin construction in 2013, with the second phase beginning construction in early 2015. The total project cost, which would be subject to refinement as part of the planning effort, is currently estimated at between $200 million and $210 million. The project is expected to result in 850 jobs, $60 million in wages, and $298 million economic activity.
One of the other four Bridge Rehabilitation programs, the rehabilitation of the Upper Level roadway deck, was authorized by the Board in December 2010 and is currently under construction.
Interested viewers can contact the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s
Hunter Pendarvis, on 212 435-7777
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which does not receive tax dollars from either state, operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Port Authority-Port Jersey Marine Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.