NEWARK - The completion of a project to raise the height of the Bayonne Bridge is being pushed back.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it will be late 2017 before larger ships will have navigational clearance to pass under the bridge.

That was initially projected to happen in 2016 or even late 2015.

The $1.3 billion project now is expected to be fully completed in 2019 and could cost 15 percent more than originally estimated.

The Port Authority says work has been delayed by last season's harsh winter, complex steel reinforcement work and changes in construction staging to address community concerns.

The bridge roadway is being raised from 151 feet to 215 feet to allow larger cargo ships that will be using the widened Panama Canal.