Largest-capacity container ship visits New Jersey port

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The largest-capacity container ship ever to visit an East Coast port has sailed under a bridge that was elevated to handle such vessels.

The Theodore Roosevelt passed under the Bayonne Bridge Thursday on its way to its dock in Elizabeth.

The ship is 1,202 feet long - the length of four football fields - and 166 feet wide. It can carry more than 7,200 standard 40-foot shipping containers above and below its decks.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has spent $1.6 billion to raise the bridge and deepen the channel so very large ships can use the container ports in Elizabeth and Newark.

Large ships like the Theodore Roosevelt were not able to pass under the bridge previously, so they took their business to other ports outside of New Jersey.

“It is a game-changer,” says Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “It will change the economic engine. It will supersize the economics engine in New York and New Jersey.”

The project did mean years of inconveniences for Bayonne residents living near the bridge.

“To now see the ship come through and now you can sit back and look and say ‘OK,’ now you understand that it was worth it; that this project had to be done,” says Bayonne Mayor James Davis. “You get that little sense of pride…that’s our bridge.”

The “Raise the Road” project began about four years ago. Officials say that there are still a few years of work left until the project is complete.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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