FOX 5 News was given an early preview of the raised roadway of the Bayonne Bridge on Tuesday, the same day as the span's 85th birthday.
The $1.3 billion project is aimed at letting larger ships pass underneath on their way to the Port of New York and New Jersey. Clearance for ships will be raised 64 feet bringing the height to 215 feet above the Kill Van Kull below.
Larger ships initially were expected to be able to pass under the bridge by late this year. But the Port Authority has said that won't happen until late 2017 because of construction delays related to weather and structural problems with the bridge's steel.
The entire project is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
The existing arch is being preserved on the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world that connects New Jersey with Port Richmond, Staten Island.
19,000 vehicles cross the Bayonne Bridge daily.
With the Associated Press