Passic River: (3D Satellite)
Hackensack River: (3D Satellite)
"SIGNIFICANCE: The 'skyway' was built as part of the transcontinental Lincoln Highway and was among the first limited access 'super highways' in the United States." Construction was 1924-32. [HAER-data] I thought the Lincoln Highway became US-30, which goes to Philadelphia. Evidently the Lincoln Highway continued East using today's US-1 route. The original highway did go out of its way to go through major cities. For example, it originally left Fort Wayne using what is now US-33 to go through Goshen, Elkhart, South Bend, etc. The US-30 that we see today across Indiana was built as a cutoff.
1. GENERAL VIEW LOOKING OBLIQUELY UPSTREAM OF THE CANTILEVER THROUGH TRUSS OVER THE PASSAIC RIVER WITH NEW YORK IN THE RIGHT BACKGROUND - Pulaski Skyway, Spanning Passaic & Hackensack Rivers, Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ
The skyway consists of cantilever bridges over the Passiac and Hackensack Rivers and this viaduct over South Kearny that connects those two bridges.
4. GENERAL VIEW OF DECK TRUSS VIADUCT BETWEEN PASSAIC AND HACKENSACK RIVERS
The power generating stations that we see in the background of some of these photos were two Public Service Electric & Gas generating stations.
This is the cantilever bridge over the Hackensack River.
5. LONG DISTANCE VIEW OF CANTILEVER THROUGH TRUSS OVER HACKENSACK RIVER
This diagram shows there was a long approach viaduct on the east side.
|Pulaski Skyway Contract Pre-Bid Meeting view HistoricBridges|
The skyway is around 3 miles long and the Hoboken Avenue Viaduct on the east side adds about another mile. The main span of each cantilevered bridge is 550' and has a 135' clearance. The skyway was part of a 13.2 mile extension of US-1 to feed the Holland Tunnel. It cost $20m. It would cost $3.2b to build it today. Instead of replacing it, NJDOT decided to spend $1b to rehabilitate it. Construction began in May 1923, and it was supposed to be completed in 1926. But "the extension was delayed by controversy over the routing through the New Jersey Meadowlands." That is why it was not done when the Holland Tunnel opened in 1927. [NYCroads, nj] Did we have environmental impact issues back in the 1920s? It carries 74,000 vehicles per day. [NorthJersey]
5. AERIAL VIEW OF THE PATH TRANSIT SYSTEM BRIDGE LOOKING SOUTHEAST. TO THE RIGHT ARE THE NEWARK TURNPIKE AND THE CONRAIL BRIDGE (HAER No. NJ-43). THE PULASKI SKYWAY (HAER No. NJ-34) IS IN THE BACKGROUND
|Photo from U of Michigan Lincoln Highway Collection via BridgeHunter|
1930s view looking northwest
[This is the Passaic River, so that is not the same power generating station that we see above in the photo over the Hackensack River]
Because the power station in this photo has five instead of six smokestacks, this would be the Hackensack River Bridge.
|Photo taken by Patrick Gurwell in November 2021 via BridgeHunter|
The Pulaski Skyway, completed in 1932, is a 3.5 mile bridge of combination deck truss cantilever and Pratt through truss designed by Sigvald Johannesson to span the Meadowlands and Passaic and Hackensack Rivers. It connects Newark and Jersey City.
The span was named for Polish Nobleman and General Casimir Pulaski who helped bring order to the Continental Army during the American Revolution.David Goessling
This is a fantastic book about the building of the Pulaski Skyway: https://thenewpress.com/books/last-three-miles A must-read for anyone interested in NJ history.
A closeup of one of the bridge towers.
Original Kearny Generating Station on the Kearny Meadows constructed in 1923.
It was originally built with six coal fired units, which were converted to oil. The last of these units was retired in 2006, and six natural gas fired units went into service in 2012.
|6th of 28 photos in nj|
Aug 1978 courtesy of the Jersey City Public Library
[The Hackensack Bridge is in the foreground, and the Passaic Bridge is in the left background.]
|Jim Fetchero commented on Bridge Hunter|
Nathan Holth considers this to be the first fully limited access highway. Back then it was more commonly known as a superhighway.
[This photo is old enough that the power plant has just three smoke stacks.]
The two engineers that designed it had a background in railroads instead of highways. This was good because they knew how to design for a good traffic flow. Specifically, the importance of keeping the curves gentle and the grades low. [HistoricBridges] The S-curve in the Lake Shore Drive in Chicago demonstrates the nativity of highway designers with respect to the impact of curves on traffic flow.
Today, we take highway design concepts such as a median barrier, merge lanes and ramps on the outside instead of the inside for granted. But they had yet to be invented when this bridge was designed. Consequently, the skyway had a high accident rate when it opened. In fact, trucks were banned from the bridge because they had even an even bigger problem merging into traffic without a merge lane. [HistoricBridges, NYCroads]
The problem with ramps on the inside instead of the outside is that it causes one to merge into the faster lanes instead of the slower lanes. Chicago has examples of this on I-290 such as I-290 and Harlem Ave. (IL-43). Even with merge lanes, traffic on the highway gets screwed up when the ramps are in the center. If I remember correctly, I had trouble driving in Detroit because it also had some center ramps. And the signage did not help you figure out if you should be in the right lane or the left lane for an exit. And when a highway has 3 or 4 lanes, knowing which side to be on becomes rather important.
The center ramps allows us to get a good view of the truss members. As Nathan Holth commented on his Historic Bridges page, the trusses do not use the V-laced truss members that was the norm back then.
Historic Bridges provides some historical articles.