Goethals Bridge connecting Staten Island, New York, with Elizabeth, New Jersey, US, is currently being replaced by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The replacement will reduce the travelling time for road users during peak hours and emergencies.

Construction on the replacement began in May 2014 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. The project is expected to generate more than 2,250 direct jobs during the construction phase.

The new bridge is expected to carry approximately 14 million vehicles a year.

Goethals Bridge replacement project purpose

Opened in 1928, the existing Goethals cable-stayed bridge has become old and functionally weak. It has four narrow 10ft lanes without any walkways. Increasing traffic and maintenance costs, as well as the need to comply with the latest seismic standards prompted the Port Authority of NY and NJ to consider the bridge replacement.

The final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the bridge replacement project was issued in August 2010 followed by the record of decision in January 2011.

The new bridge will feature wider lanes with shoulders, providing access to pedestrians and bicycles. It will incorporate new structural standards including seismic protection.

Design and features of the new Goethals Bridge

To be located directly south of the existing bridge, the replacement bridge will be a cable-stayed bridge having twin spans with a total length of 1,983ft and approach spans of more than 2,500ft on each side.

The two spans will include a total of 144 steel stay cables with a 13in-diameter and a maximum length of 400ft.

A 138ft clearance will be available for the passage of deep-sea vessels through the Arthur Kill.

The new bridge will be constructed with fabricated steel components and supported by more than 200 drilled shaft foundations that range from 4.5ft to 10ft in diameter. The shafts will be fixed into Passaic Formation siltstone.

“The project is expected to generate more than 2,250 direct jobs during the construction phase.”

A group of six 9ft-diameter shafts will support each main pylon tower, whereas a group of two 10ft-diameter shafts will support each anchor pier. The approach piers will comprise two-column bents supported on a rock-socketed drilled shaft.

The bridge will include three 12ft-wide travel lanes in each direction, a 12ft-wide outer shoulder and a 5ft-wide inner shoulder on each lane. It will also feature a 10ft-wide sidewalk or bikeway on the northern edge of the New Jersey roadway.

A 65ft-wide central area will be designed between the eastbound and westbound roadway decks to provide transit services in future for bus or light rail.

The replacement bridge will be equipped with smart bridge technologies such as roadway weather information systems, which will fetch information on environmental factors, including wind speed, visibility and pavement temperature. It will also comprise a traffic detection system that will use sensors fixed on the road to provide traffic alerts.

Goethals Bridge replacement project construction

Construction of both the eastbound and westbound structures of the replacement bridge will be completed by the end of 2017. All construction works including the demolition of the old bridge structure are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The onsite construction works include excavation, drainage, concrete curbs, mechanically stabilised earth (MSE) walls, pile caps, over-head structures for supporting signs, bridge deck slabs, concrete pavement, asphalt pavement, pavement markings, and landscaping.

Contractors involved

The NYNJ Link Partnership consortium comprising Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and Kiewit Infrastructure was contracted to provide design, construction and financing for the replacement bridge. The contractual scope also includes maintenance services for a period of 35 years after the bridge construction.

Parsons is the lead designer for the project, while Dan Brown and Associates (DBA) was selected as the geotechnical / foundation engineer.

NYNJ Link selected the Kiewit-Weeks-Massman (KWM) joint venture for the design-build of the project in partnership with the lead designer, Parsons. UrbaTech was subcontracted by KWM to provide construction engineering services.

Robinson was contracted to provide new colour digital low-altitude aerial mapping photography (LAMP), analytical triangulation, and topographic mapping services for the project.

KS Engineers (KSE) was appointed as the lead consultant to provide independent construction quality assurance (QA) and construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services.

Crisdel Group received a contract for the construction of the at-grade civil components, traffic control and drainage. Ernst & Young was selected as the financial advisor for the project, while Halcrow HTNB and Arup were appointed as technical advisors, and Allen Overy as legal advisor.

Financing for the bridge replacement

The investment for the bridge replacement project is estimated to be $1.5bn. The project received $473.7m through Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), $453.3m from private activity bonds and $106.8m through equity.

The PANYNJ paid $125m and $277.6m respectively as milestone payments and pre-development costs.