NJ Bridges Evaluated Following Collapse of Baltimore Bridge

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Following the recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, state officials in New Jersey are taking a closer look at the condition of their own bridges. According to their assessment, one out of every four bridges in North Jersey needs repairs. This places the region among the highest rates in the state for bridges in need of repair.

The Garden State is home to nearly 7,000 bridges that span local, county, and state roads. The U.S. Department of Transportation has rated hundreds of these bridges as being in poor condition. In Bergen County alone, nearly one out of four bridges is in need of repair.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after a collision with a container ship. While only a few North Jersey bridges cross a span big enough to handle a cargo ship, the incident has raised concerns about the overall state of infrastructure in the region.

In recent years, efforts have been made to accommodate larger cargo vessels. For instance, a $1.6 billion project was completed in 2017 to raise the Bayonne Bridge from 151 feet to 215 feet. The bridge spans the Kill Van Kull between Bayonne and Staten Island. The center span is 1,675 feet, compared with the 1,200-foot center span of the Key Bridge.

Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey replaced the original Goethals Bridge, built in 1928, with a new span in 2017 and 2018. The Goethals crosses the Arthur Kill between Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Staten Island. It has a 138.5-foot clearance and a 900-foot-wide center span.

Despite these improvements, the overall state of New Jersey's bridges remains a concern. With nearly 20% of them in need of repair, state officials are faced with the task of prioritizing and addressing these infrastructural issues.

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