Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV) are expected to be able to pass under the Bayonne Bridge later this year to reach New York City-area ports as work will be completed six months ahead of schedule.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said that the operation to remove the lower roadway of the bridge, part of a US$1.6 billion project, should be completed by June 30, 2017.
The newly raised roadway will provide a clearance of 215 feet, an increase of 64 feet on its orginal height, to allow containerships of around 18,000 TEU to pass through and reduce operating costs for shipping lines.
Navigation channels in New York harbour have also been dredged to allow the ships to pass at a cost of US$ 2.1 billion.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest on the East Coast and the third-busiest in the country after Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The Port Authority initially hoped to accommodate larger ships in 2016, but construction delays from weather and structural problems with the bridge's steel held the project back.
It's not the only US port to be making alterations for larger vessels as the Port of Oakland is raising its cranes to accomodate mega-ships.