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Newly raised Bayonne Bridge roadway opens for drivers Monday

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BAYONNE, N.J. — The new elevated roadway on the Bayonne Bridge has opened.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says the roadway -- 215 feet above the Kill van Kull and 64 feet above the original bridge deck -- above the span connecting Bayonne, New Jersey, to Staten Island, New York, opened Monday after years of work to raise the deck.

Construction on the $1.3 billion project to allow bigger cargo ships to reach New York City-area ports began in 2013.

The previous height limited the size of vessels that could pass underneath on their way to the ports of Newark and Elizabeth. Ships' masts passed mere feet below the span.

The roadway will use a cashless toll system, using a combination of EZ Pass and mailed tolls.