Port Authority of New York and New Jersey representatives Ronald Gumann, P.E. and Dennis Stabile, PMP, explained why the vertical clearance of the Bayonne Bridge, built in 1931 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark since 1985 had to be changed from 151 feet to 215 feet and how this remarkable change will be achieved. The vertical clearance is being raised to accommodate a new generation of "Panamax" ships will begin to dock at ports along the East Coast when the widening of the Panama Canal is completed. Various options, including the incorporation of a lift span, were considered before the "Raise the Roadway" option was selected. The project's complex construction methodology, accommodations for nearby residents and property owners, measures to minimize disruptions to vehicular and marine traffic and the current status of the job were discussed in detail.
Steven A. Koch, Project Manager for Skanska, the contractor, spoke about the construction of the Oculus as a signature structure designed by Santiago Calatrava, that is meant to resemble a bird being released from a child's hand. The Oculus is located above the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which will connect multiple subway lines, PATH trains, ferry services and provide space for retailers. Unique worksite conditions and tight schedules challenged the contractor to find the most efficient methods, materials and equipment available to perform the work. Efforts taken to coordinate the fabrication of the Oculus' massive steel elements at three yards in Italy, their delivery to the World Trade Center, and the logistic burden of erecting the structure on a congested worksite in an equally congested urban environment were also discussed.