ELIZABETH, N.J. — The first span of the new Goethals Bridge has opened for business.

New York-bound drivers started crossing the span shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday. Many celebrated by honking their horns and giving bridge workers a thumbs up.

The new span’s New Jersey-bound lanes are due to open late Sunday afternoon.

The twin spans are replacing the 89-year-old bridge that connects Elizabeth, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York. The second span will open in 2018.

The new Goethals Bridge spans will each have three 12-foot (4-meter) lanes along with 12-foot (4-meter) outer shoulders and 5-foot (2-meter) inner shoulders.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the $1.5 billion cable-stayed crossing is the agency’s first new bridge opening since the Bayonne Bridge was completed in 1931.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.