- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Larger cargo ships won’t be able to pass under a newly raised Bayonne Bridge until late 2017 because of construction delays, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Thursday.

The raising of the bridge roadway from 151 feet to 215 feet will allow the New Jersey ports to accommodate larger ships that will be able to traverse the expanded Panama Canal. Ports up and down the East Coast are vying to make modifications to their facilities to accept the larger ships.

The Bayonne roadway raising was initially projected to be completed by 2016. The Port Authority revised that assessment to late this year when it said a key component would be finished six months earlier than previously estimated.

But the agency said in a statement Thursday that last season’s harsh winter, complex steel reinforcement work and changes in construction staging to address community concerns have delayed the project.

The Port Authority also said the $1.3 billion price tag could rise 15 percent by the time the work is fully completed in 2019.

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