Lesniak calls for detailed plans for Bayonne Bridge upgrade

BAYONNE — Facing the potential loss of import business from Toys R Us and other major companies, State Senator Ray Lesniak said that it is critical that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey come up with a detailed plan and timetable for the future of the Bayonne Bridge.
While the Port Authority has announced a plan to raise the road of the Bayonne Bridge in order to make room under the bridge to accommodate new and larger cargo ships bound for Ports Newark and Elizabeth along Newark Bay, no specifics have yet been announced, leaving shippers uncertain about the future when it comes to making long range plans.
The new ships are expected to begin arriving after the Panama Canal is expanded, shortly after 2014.
“Toys R Us and other major shippers have told me they are very serious about shifting cargo from NYNJ come 2014-2015 [Panama Canal completion],” he said. “I am sure that their vendors [the ocean carriers who own the ships] are telling them that once the canal project is done, they’ll be able to put bigger ships into their services, thereby creating much lower costs per slot on the ships for the shippers like Toys R Us.”
Lesniak said while these companies have not yet made a commitment to changing ports north and south of the New York region, but they will need a firm time line from the Port Authority soon.
“I’ve spoken with Mr. [Bill] Balboni [deputy director of the Port Authority] and he said that he will be meeting with local government officials and shippers soon and that a details plan will be issued shortly,” Lesniak said.

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