Bayonne Bridge raising is delayed six months

We have been talking about the Panama Canal expansion. One of the important projects is the Bayonne Bridge in New York harbor.

Last winter’s harsh weather has caused a six-month delay in completion of a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge’s clearance to allow passage by larger container ships at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The new schedule calls for the bridge’s 151-foot-high roadway to be raised to 215 feet by the summer of 2016 — still in time for the expected opening that year of larger locks at the Panama Canal, port authority officials said.

Under the original schedule,  the roadway bridge between Bayonne, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, was to have been raised by the end of 2015 while work continued for several months on roadways and approaches. The overall project now is set for completion in 2017.

The bridge’s existing clearance is too low for large container ships sailing to and from terminals in Port Newark-Elizabeth or New York Container Terminal. The port’s other major terminal, Global Terminal in Bayonne, is seaward of the bridge.

Interest in raising the Bayonne Bridge extends coastwide. Carriers want to be able to deploy larger ships to call multiple East Coast ports. That’s difficult to do when the ships face bridge clearance limitations in New York-New Jersey, the East Coast’s busiest port.

Many ships now passing under the bridge must do so at low tide or with partial loads, extra ballast, or retractable antennas. Last April the Coast Guard warned that it would issue citations to ships that fail to to ensure they can clear the bridge safely.

Completion of the Panama Canal’s expansion adds to the pressure to finish the bridge-raising project. Canal locks under construction will handle ships capable of using the full 50-foot depth of New York-New Jersey channels being dredged under a decade-long project that’s nearing completion.

The port authority said a series of blizzards last winter limited construction work days, and that the project encountered delays delays related to utility work at the the site and in fabrication of precast piers.

The port authority said it is “confident that these issues have been resolved,” and that the project remains within its $1.3 billion budget, which includes a $743 million construction contract awarded to Skanska Koch Inc./Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Construction is approximately 25 percent complete, the port authority said.

Raising the bridge is a complicated engineering and construction challenge. Vehicular traffic on the bridge is continuing while sections of the roadway are demolished and a higher roadway is built  within the span’s existing structure.

The port authority said construction of piers for longer approaches to the bridge will be conducted during daytime hours to minimize noise for residents near the bridge. Assembly of construction gantries, a device that carries precast concrete roadway deck sections to the new piers, will begin this month.

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Comets Sell Out The Kennedy Arena

The Utica Comets’ preseason game with the Adirondack Flames is sold out. 

The American Hockey League teams will meet Oct. 3 at Rome’s Kennedy Arena. The Flames, formerly the Abbotsford Heat, are the affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. 

Last year, the Comets also played their lone home exhibition game at Kennedy Arena against the Adirondack Phantoms – now based in Allentown, Pa. – and winning, 4-2. 

The Comets will play road exhibitions Oct. 1, when they visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Oct. 4, when they play the Flames again at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Comets open the regular season Oct. 11 on the road against the Toronto Marlies. Their first home game is Oct 23 against Adirondack.

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Memories of Commuters on Bar Cars

We covered a lot on the end of the bar cars on the New Haven Line. Plus even more on bar cars. What have never seen until now are great pictures of folks riding those cars. Now the only picture we own is outside shot of the most famous bar car.

But the Connecticut Post has come to our rescue with 17 pictures from 1961 .

View of commuters as they drink on the New York New Haven train, New York, New York, 1961. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The bar car is no more as Metro-North did away with the practice through attrition this year, but in recent years it was not what it once was. Maybe that’s a good thing.

In combing through the archives, they ran across these wonderful photographs from Alfred Eisenstadt, the LIFE photographer famous for his “V-J Day kiss” photo.

Eisenstadt gives us this unique look at the Mad Men-era bar car on the New Haven Line, circa 1960

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NY City’s Montague Street Tunnel Reopens After Hurricane sandy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leaders and New York City elected officials to mark the restoration of normal R Line subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, following the rebuilding of the Montague Tube damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
The $250 million project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, during a full shutdown of the subway tunnel that runs under the East River. During the October 2012 storm, about 27 million gallons of water poured into a 4,000-foot stretch of the tunnel. The saltwater corroded every element of subway infrastructure, from electronic signal equipment to lighting to steel rails, according to MTA.

The tunnel repair project’s completion marks “another huge step forward to repair the damage and strengthen the system to withstand the next major storm,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“New York’s transit network suffered more damage during Sandy than anyone at the MTA has ever seen in our lifetimes. The effort required to rebuild the Montague Tube was nothing short of heroic,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast.


The Montague Tube was shut down Aug. 3, 2013, to provide workers unfettered access to remove damaged equipment from the two tunnels and demolish concrete and terra cotta duct banks in both tubes that had collapsed. Construction crews had to enter the 4,000-foot section under the East River from entry points in Manhattan and Brooklyn, removing all debris and bringing in all equipment and tools through the tunnels themselves. Crews replaced 11,000 feet of track, 30,000 feet of concrete and terra cotta duct banks, 75,000 feet of power cable and 200,000 feet of communications cable, MTA officials said.

This tunnel was opened in 1920

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is leaning toward a weekend-only format for closures of the Cranberry Street Tunnel, which requires substantial work to replace equipment damaged by flood waters during Hurricane Sandy. Work is expected to start within the first three months of 2015.


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Getting Small

The IoT (Internet of Things) is getting closer all the time. Of course it’s easy to think about connecting your thermostat (already done), your refrig (already done) and your TV (also already done). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Two of the main stumbling blocks to proliferation are price and size. But that’s about to change in a big way, paving the way for the replacement of RFID devices as supply chain management tools.

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Amtrak readies ‘Great Dome’ car for six-week run on Adirondack service

Amtrak plans to place its “Great Dome” rail car into service on the Adirondack route for a six-week run starting Sept. 25 to provide passengers with a better view of the fall foliage in upstate New York.

In partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation and the National Park Service Trails and Rails program, the railroad will again offer its one remaining dome car for what has become a popular annual tradition along the scenic route, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

The dome car features an upper level with windows on all sides to provide panoramic views of foliage changing colors, as well as of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains between Albany, N.Y., and Montreal.

The dome car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, and will return south from Montreal on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. The car will be available through Nov. 4.

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