‘Faced with a disaster’

To the Editor:
Bayonne residents are faced with a disaster that will affect their quality of life without the bureaucracy asking their opinion. I am referring to the possible raising of the Bayonne Bridge to allow giant container ships (1,048 feet long) to pass underneath it going to and from Newark Bay container ports.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report for the Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J. released last summer concluded that raising the bridge 64 feet would be the cheapest and fastest way to solve the problem at a supposed cost of $1.3 billion. I disagree because the time factor to build will involve wage increases, steel increases, weather and other obstructive issues, etc.
There is also the State Historic Preservation Commission because the Bayonne Bridge at one time was the largest single suspension bridge in the world. It is considered a historic structure. They might object to its shape being altered.
Let us look at this rush to disorder with common sense. They want to raise the clearance from beneath the bridge from 151 feet to 215 feet for a total of 64 more feet. This can be done because if you have the money to spend you can raise it to any height that you want. The most important fact is not the clearance under the bridge, but the depth of the channel in the Kill Van Kull. They say right that the channel depth is 50 feet. These giant container ships have a capacity to carry 6,500 containers, are 1,048 feet long and a draft of 47 feet. The tide recedes by almost seven feet; this means at low tide the channel depth will be 43 feet, meaning the ship will be grounded. When the giant container ship goes under the bridge and bears to the right into Newark Bay, could the back end of the ship hit low water on the Staten Island shoreline?
If they do raise the bridge, it will also affect traffic of the Goethals, Outer Bridge, and Routes 1 and 9. The higher the bridge increase, the further the extension must be for ingress and digress. It might be to get on and off at 15th Street and the Boulevard. Will there be eminent domain of private homes? Will the railroad bridge at Seventh Street and the Boulevard have to be removed?
All of these so called problems could be eliminated by using the former naval base at the BLRA. This is the last deep water seaport on the east coast! Here, the giant container ships without difficulty can go to and from “underneath” the Verrazano Bridge into the ocean. The former M.O.T. land consists of 437 acres above water and 390 acres under most shallow water. The east end of the port is 2,400 feet wide, the north and south sides roughly 10,000 feet long. At one time, they could service seven giant container ships.
If the bridge is raised and after construction is done, how many new jobs will be created? Zero! How much will Bayonne receive in new tax revenue? Zero! If the seaport is created, hundreds of people will be employed and thousands of outside support jobs will be available. This is a win, win situation!
I admit that I am not an engineer, but if one uses common sense, you would know the right way from the wrong way to do something. My only interest is what our city gains, the protection of people’s property and how it affects our quality of life.


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