New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed members to approve what is being called a historic bridge construction program at today’s Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners meeting.

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The governors estimate the projects will create upwards of 5,000 construction jobs, generate more than $600 million in wages and more than $2.5 billion in economic activity for the region.

“These projects are tremendously important to New Jersey and the region,” says Christie. “They will put thousands of hardworking men and women to work, secure the Port of New York and New Jersey’s role as the premier port and economic engine of the East Coast, and provide New Jersey residents with modern bridge spans that will improve safety and benefit commuters for years to come.”

The program includes three of the bi-state agency’s bridges that link New York and New Jersey, with two of the three being substantial, large-scale projects that include building a new bridge to replace the current span and raising the roadway of an existing bridge. The bridges are the Goethals Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing, which all connect Staten Island to northern New Jersey.

Replacement of the Goethals Bridge will be the first true surface transportation project in the Northeast Region.

Construction Will Begin this Year

This marks the first time in more than 80 years that the agency will build a new bridge and the first time ever that engineers will build a bridge’s roadbed above the existing roadway, while traffic continues to flow on the deck below at the Bayonne Bridge. Construction on all three projects will begin this year.

“By investing in critical infrastructure projects, the Port Authority is renewing its commitment to refocus on its core mission,” says Cuomo. “Employing a public-private partnership to build a new Goethals Bridge and utilizing unique engineering strategies to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge demonstrate our ability to build major transportation infrastructure in a smart and cost effective manner. This action will create thousands of jobs and serve as a major economic boost for New York and New Jersey.”