ELIZABETH — The first span of the new Goethals Bridge has opened for business.

New York-bound drivers started crossing the span shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday. Many celebrated by honking their horns and giving bridge workers a thumbs up.

The new span's New Jersey-bound lanes are due to open late Sunday afternoon.

The twin spans are replacing the 89-year-old bridge that connects Elizabeth, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York. The second span will open in 2018.

The new Goethals Bridge spans will each have three 12-foot (4-meter) lanes along with 12-foot (4-meter) outer shoulders and 5-foot (2-meter) inner shoulders.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the $1.5 billion cable-stayed crossing is the agency's first new bridge opening since the Bayonne Bridge was completed in 1931.
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