SI Then: The Goethals Bridge
After the First World War, the U.S. was on the move.
With the new prosperity, wanderlust and mass-produced automobiles, the Goethals Bridge was built to accommodate interstate travel.
The bridge opened on June 29, 1928, the same day as the Outerbridge Crossing. Both were designed by John Alexander Low Waddell. This was the first successful bi-state development project by the then-new Port Authority. It sported two 10-foot-wide lanes in each direction.
The new bridge was named after Major General George W. Goethals. Construction supervisor of the Panama Canal and the first consulting engineer of the NY/NJ Port Authority, he died just three months before the bridge’s opening, which also would have been his 70th birthday.
The same month saw the establishment of the Port Authority Police. Its 40 original officers, known as Bridgemen, were deployed to patrol and protect both the Outerbridge and the Goethals bridges.
The Goethals did not recoup its original construction costs until 1964, when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed.
This year, 3,566,101 EZpass equipped vehicles crossed over it between January and March.
It was finally closed this month when the first of two new parallel bridges opened to replace it. The second will open in 2018. Built higher and wider, they will accommodate more traffic and larger ships passing under them.
Until it is finally dismantled, the original Goethals is truly now only a bridge to the past.