01 December 2011
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has invited requests for qualification for the PPP contract to replace the ageing Goethals Bridge.
The bridge, constructed in 1928 to then-current criteria and standards, is now functionally obsolete. The existing lanes are too narrow are create a safety issue for trucks and wider vehicles, as well as causing congestion. The lack of roadway shoulders with only two lanes of traffic in each direction impedes access during emergencies, and the bridge is at capacity during peak periods.
Materials testing and engineering evaluations in 1997 indicated that the deck would require rehabilitation to keep the bridge usable until a new structure is in place. To that end, a deck rehabilitation was completed in 2006 with the intention of ensuring that the deck would adequately function for approximately another 10 years, until about 2016. After 2016, the frequency of emergency repairs for the bridge is expected to increase along with associated impacts to facility operations and public safety.
Delays in the construction of a new replacement bridge would require one of two costly improvements. In the shorter-term, additional support for the underside of the bridge would likely be required in the 2016 timeframe, which would increase the useful life of the bridge by approximately 10 to 15 years. The estimated total project cost would be in the range of $400 million.
Longer-term delays would require a deck replacement and seismic retrofit for the bridge, which would cost approximately $600 million and the anticipated useful life for a deck replacement would be around 30 years. Neither repair scheme, additional underside support nor a deck replacement, is recommended as the options each require a significant capital outlay while the existing bridge would remain functionally obsolete.