The Outerbridge Crossing is a significant bridge located in the northeastern United States. It connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York City, spanning the Arthur Kill, a tidal strait that separates Staten Island from New Jersey. The bridge is named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.Here is a brief history of the Outerbridge Crossing:
- Planning and Construction: The idea for a bridge linking Staten Island and New Jersey was proposed as early as the 1920s. However, it wasn't until the 1927 Report on Interjurisdictional Crossings by the Regional Plan Association that the need for such a crossing was officially recognized. The bridge's construction was authorized, and it was designed by John Alexander Low Waddell, an American civil engineer known for his work on various bridges.
- Opening: The Outerbridge Crossing was completed and opened to the public on June 29, 1928. At the time of its opening, it was the longest steel-arch bridge in the world, with a main span of 922 feet (281 meters). The bridge's total length is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers).
- Toll Bridge: The Outerbridge Crossing was initially a toll bridge, and motorists had to pay a fee to cross it. The toll revenue was used to cover the bridge's maintenance and operational costs.
- Port Authority Control: In 1946, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took over the management and operation of the Outerbridge Crossing, along with other transportation facilities in the region. The Port Authority worked to improve and expand the bridge to meet the growing traffic demands.
- Upgrades and Expansion: Over the years, the Outerbridge Crossing underwent several upgrades and renovations to accommodate increasing traffic and ensure its structural integrity. These improvements included widening the bridge to add additional lanes and enhancing its safety features.
- Continuing Use: The Outerbridge Crossing remains an essential transportation link, providing a crucial connection between Staten Island and New Jersey. It serves as a vital route for commuters and commercial traffic moving between the two states.
- Sister Bridges: The Outerbridge Crossing is one of three major bridges connecting Staten Island to other parts of New York City and New Jersey. The other two are the Goethals Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Elizabeth, New Jersey, and the Bayonne Bridge, linking Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey.
The Outerbridge Crossing continues to play a vital role in regional transportation, contributing to the economic development and connectivity of the New York metropolitan area.
- Eugenius H. Outerbridge: The bridge is named after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, a prominent civil engineer who served as the first chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He was appointed to this position in 1921 and played a key role in the development and construction of various transportation projects, including the Outerbridge Crossing.
- Pioneering Design: The Outerbridge Crossing was an engineering marvel of its time. It was the first bridge in the United States to be constructed using a steel arch design. The arch structure provided the bridge with strength and stability, allowing it to span the wide tidal strait of the Arthur Kill.
- Record-Breaking Length: When the Outerbridge Crossing was completed in 1928, its main span of 922 feet (281 meters) made it the longest steel-arch bridge in the world at that time. This feat of engineering contributed to its recognition as a significant achievement in bridge construction.
- Art Deco Design: The Outerbridge Crossing features an Art Deco architectural style, which was popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The bridge's design includes decorative elements, such as geometric patterns, ornamental railings, and unique lampposts, that exemplify the Art Deco aesthetic.
- Toll Collection Innovations: In its early years, toll collection on the Outerbridge Crossing involved a somewhat unique process. Initially, the tolls were collected from drivers as they entered New Jersey, but in 1950, the Port Authority introduced a new toll collection system. The "Bayonne roll-call" system allowed drivers to pay the tolls in either direction, simplifying the process and reducing traffic congestion.
- Ongoing Maintenance: Throughout its long history, the Outerbridge Crossing has undergone numerous renovations and maintenance projects to ensure its continued safety and functionality. Regular inspections and upgrades have been performed to keep the bridge in optimal condition.
- Commuter and Commercial Use: The bridge has served as a vital transportation link for commuters traveling between Staten Island and New Jersey. Additionally, the Outerbridge Crossing plays a crucial role in facilitating the movement of commercial traffic, goods, and services between the two states.
- Symbol of Regional Connectivity: As one of the major crossings in the New York metropolitan area, the Outerbridge Crossing has become a symbol of the interconnectedness between New Jersey and New York City, fostering economic and cultural ties between the regions.
Overall, the Outerbridge Crossing stands as a testament to engineering ingenuity and has played a significant role in the development and connectivity of the surrounding communities for nearly a century.
Traffic conditions on the Outerbridge Crossing can vary greatly depending on the time of day, day of the week, and any ongoing construction or incidents that may be affecting traffic flow. During peak commuting hours and holidays, the bridge can experience heavier traffic volumes.
For passenger cars (two-axle vehicles):
- $16.00 for cash toll payment.
- $13.75 for E-ZPass users (with New York or New Jersey-issued E-ZPass accounts).
It's important to note that toll rates can change over time due to various factors, including inflation, maintenance costs, and funding requirements for transportation projects. Additionally, different toll rates may apply to commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and other types of vehicles.