Newark Bay Bridge

Monday, December 31, 2012 |

It is time to expand bridge treks to include those done by driving, not just by walking. There are limits to the number of major bridges that one can walk across, but there are lots of bridges, for good or for bad, that allow automobiles only. I will concede that, if you're going to build bridges, then transporting vehicles should be their main purpose, so we won't exclude the vehicle-only bridges from bridge treks. And even though I've said that if one can walk across a bridge, then one can drive across it, I will also say that it is possible to drive across major bridges without walking first. At least that's the plan.

Our first driving-only bridge trek, done a couple of days before Christmas, was the Casciano Memorial Bridge. No one really knows it by that name, but rather as the Newark Bay Bridge or, like reading it off the map, the I-78 New Jersey Turnpike Extension Bridge. Now I'm sure you know where we are: in New Jersey. The bridge connects the cities of Newark and Bayonne on Interstate 78, and yes it does go over Newark Bay and is a major link between the Holland Tunnel (to New York City ) and northern New Jersey. If you are going from northern New Jersey to Liberty Park in Jersey City, where you can get the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, or into lower Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel, this is your bridge.

The bridge is about 1.8 miles long, and does have a good bit of climb to it. According to the Wikipedia entry, it reaches some 135 feet above Newark Bay, making it about the same height as, for example, the Brooklyn Bridge. However, the bridge was undergoing construction and it was impossible to see beyond the side barriers. So, it was anything but scenic, and the drive over it was finished very quickly, unlike walking over such a bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge, for example, is about the same length as the Newark Bay Bridge, and it took upwards of one hour to cross it by foot. (I just wanted to get those two bridges into the same sentence, which I figure is quite rare. It is hard to top the experience of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, but we'll keep looking.) 

I took no photos of the Newark Bay Bridge, but wiki provides a couple (shown above). The scariness of this bridge was mainly an issue of having big barriers right up against the lane, requiring focus, rather than the height. I will say, though, the bridge did seem to go on and on, and the climb up was noticeable. Ah, the joys of driving over bridges. It's always something. I will give it a scariness rating of 12 based on its vertical climb and very narrow lanes, as well as its significant length.