Towering above these houses is the Bayonne Bridge, which spans the bustling Kill van Kull and connects Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey. When it opened in 1931, its 1,675-foot-long arch made it the longest steel arch bridge in the world, and it held this title for 46 years until West Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge was put into service in 1977. The American Institute of Steel Construction named it the most beautiful steel bridge of its class to be completed in 1931, selecting it over its more prominent neighbor to the north, the George Washington Bridge. (Both bridges were designed by the same man, Othmar Ammann.)
The golden scissors used for the bridge's ribbon-cutting were later sent to Australia, where they were used at the 1932 dedication of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a much more massive but slightly shorter steel arch structure. The blades of the scissors were then split apart and one was returned to New York.
The Bayonne Bridge is about to undergo major construction: its roadway deck will be raised 64 feet to accommodate the larger ships that will be plying the waters of New York and New Jersey in a couple of years, once the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete. The importance of this project becomes quite apparent when you consider that some 12 percent of all international shipping containers in the US pass beneath this bridge! The Port Authority plans to keep the bridge open to automobile traffic while the new roadway is being built above the existing one; check out this video to see how it will be done.