A vertical-lift bridge in New Jersey is first in the state to incorporate a lightweight steel orthotropic structure for the bridge deck. The $495.8 million bridge is expected to open as soon as fall 2022 and replaces a lift bridge on Route 7.



A new vertical-lift bridge across the Hackensack River represents the first use of a lightweight steel “orthotropic” bridge deck for the state of New Jersey.

The orthotropic deck will serve as the vertical-lift span for the new Wittpenn Bridge between Jersey City and Kearny. The three-deck, 350-foot span was fabricated and assembled by Vigor LLC in 2017 in Oregon and then shipped over a month in five pieces through the Panama Canal to New Jersey.

The three deck sections rested upon barges in the river since their arrival in 2017. Three years later after project delays, they were finally installed in late September 2020. Each of the three decks was lifted a day at a time into place, according to Steve Shapiro, New Jersey Department of Transportation deputy director of communications. Two large end girders, also shipped on the barge from Oregon, were then installed.

The new bridge is slated for opening in spring after the lift span is tested and railings and sidewalks are installed, Shapiro said. After that, work will continue on building a new ramp to Newark Avenue and improvements to the Fish House Road interchange.

The existing 90-year-old lift bridge on Route 7 will be demolished after the new one is completed.The entire project is expected to be completed in Fall 2022 or early Spring 2023 at a total cost of $495.8 million, Shapiro said.