NEW YORK CITY- Since 2014, the bridge landscape has been changing in front of our eyes, especially with regards to the metropolitan’s freeways. Once laden with suspension bridges, such as the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Verrazano Narrows, as well as cantilever truss bridges, such as the Queensboro and Commodore Perry, and arch bridges, such as the Bayonne and Triborough Bridges, a new type of bridge is painting the landscape: the cable-stayed suspension bridge. Three bridges of this kind are taking shape, replacing their predecessors, made of steel but at an average age of 75 years, have reached their end of their useful lives and therefore, will be retired and taken down. Already the Kosciuszko Bridge, spanning Newtown Creek betwee Brooklyn and Queens has opened to traffic, replacing a through truss bridge that had previously occupied its place for almost 80 years. The truss bridge is scheduled to be lowered to the creek and dismantled this summer. The twin tower spans of the Tappan Zee Bridge are taking shape. The 62-year old cantilever through truss structure is scheduled to be demolished this fall in place of the westbound bridge, with the spans to be finished by 2019.
The same applies to this bridge, the Goethals Bridge, spanning the Arthur Kill at the New York/ New Jersey border.
Built by J.A. L. Waddell, who had already made a name for himself with his patented subdivided kingpost through truss bridge and building major structures in cities, like Kansas City, Chicago and New York, the 1928 structure feature a cantilever Warren through truss bridge, with riveted connections and an X-frame portal bracing. The span is 768 feet long, but combining the deck truss approach spans, the total length is 7110 feet. However, at a deck width of 62 feet, the bridge was too narrow to accomodate through traffic, especially as it had carried Interstate 278 traffic since 1961. Despite integrating it into the freeway system, highway officials concluded that because of countless bottleneck traffic, combined with the age of the structure, the Goethals Bridge could no longer accomodate the increasing traffic and therefore needed to be replaced.
Construction started on the twin-towered cable-stayed suspension bridge in 2014 and since this past Friday, the eastbound span has opened to traffic. Currently, four lanes of traffic- two in each direction- are using that bridge while the westbound span is being built. When completed next year, a total of eight lanes will be using the duo-span, thus making the connection between New Jersey and Staten Island more efficient and stress free, especially when people need to commute to New York everyday and spend a weekend at Long Island.
And as for the Goethals Bridge, it will become a faded memory by the time the duo-spans open, being placed in the history books as the bridge that was a pioneer of commuter traffic that serves the metropolitan area but has now deserved a grand retirement after almost 90 years in service.
Demolition crews are working to remove the old structure even as this article is being posted through a series of controlled implosions and dismantling the cantilever span into chunks, to be shipped to the recycling center for reuse. The project is scheduled to be finished by latest, 2019, which includes removing the old span and accomodating bike and pedestrian traffic- a luxury that was not available with the old bridge.
If you want to see what both bridges look like, have a look at the videos below. The first one is of the original Goethals Bridge before construction began. The second is of the newly opened eastbound bridge.