What to Know
- The Bayonne Bridge reopened 5 a.m. Monday.
- It connects Bayonne, New Jersey, to Staten Island.
- The bridge was lifted to accommodate larger ships passing underneath.
After years of work to raise the deck, the Bayonne Bridge officially opened on President's Day.
The bridge connecting Bayonne, New Jersey, to Staten Island, New York, opened Monday at 5 a.m., The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.
Grateful driver Francis Cardamone waited from 3.30 a.m. Monday morning to be the first commuter to cross the bridge, earning himself a plaque from the Port Authority.
"I wanted to see what the engineers had done to remodel it and what the men and women who have worked so hard to accomplish in rebuilding it have done.
"I really felt I wanted to show my appreciation and gratitude for that by being here to make it a special event," he said.
Construction on the $1.3 billion project to allow bigger cargo ships to reach New York City-area ports began in 2013. The roadway was raised to 215 feet above the Kill van Kull, 64 feet above the original deck.
The previous height limited the size of vessels that could pass underneath on their way to the ports of Newark and Elizabeth. Ships' masts passed mere feet below the span.
The bridge uses a cashless toll system; a combination of EZ Pass and mailed tolls.