Roger Haight - Bruce Podwal Seminar Series


Bruce Podwal Seminar Series

Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program:  Design and Construction of Approach Structures


Roger Haight

Vice President - Long Span Bridge Group Leader

Senior Technical Principal



12 – 1 pm, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Civil Engineering Department, Room 115, Steinman Hall


Absract:  The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Bayonne Bridge crosses the entrance to the ports of Newark and Elizabeth in New Jersey.  The longest steel truss arch span in the world when it opened in 1931, the bridge was designed by Othmar Ammann.  In order to maintain the economic vitality of the ports, the original 151-ft navigational clearance needed to be raised to 215 ft for mega container ships passing through the newly opened Panama Canal.  The new navigational clearance was attained in June 2017 and the first post-Panamax vessel passed under the new clearance on September 7, 2017. 

For construction, the four traffic lanes were reduced to two and shifted west.  Thus, staged construction to build two lanes at the higher elevation could be achieved while maintaining traffic at the lower elevation during peak hours. The new approaches comprise two-column precast post-tensioned piers with two trapezoidal concrete hollow box roadway girders with soffits.  Superstructure construction uses the balanced cantilever method.  One set of pier T-columns is stubbed up through the closed east half of the existing roadway to build one-half of the roadway at higher elevation adjacent to existing traffic.  This roadway was completed in February 2017 and traffic moved to the new roadway, and the lower roadway in the arch span was removed.  The existing lower approaches are being demolished, the second matching pier T-columns are being erected, and the second roadway box structure is under construction.  Significant construction challenges include noise abatement and erection of the approach structures with private homes and businesses within 30 ft of the bridge footprint.


Biography: Mr. Haight received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1982.  He worked in the chemical industry for 10 years in Texas and in Belgium before receiving a Master’s degree in structural engineering from Princeton University in 1994.  He is WSP USA’s Long Span Bridge Group Leader and Senior Technical Principal.  He serves as WSP’s Project Manager for Construction Support Services for the Bayonne Bridge Raise the Roadway Project.

Last Updated: 08/24/2018 09:44