The longest steel-arch bridge in the world for 46 years, the Bayonne Bridge continues to be celebrated today as a major aesthetic and technical achievement. The 1,675-foot bridge replaced a ferry service which until then was the only means of crossing from the Bayonne peninsula to Staten Island. While providing this essential link in the transportation network of greater New York City, the bridge's mid-span clearance of 150 feet also allows for unobstructed navigation on Newark Bay, the main shipping channel to the inland ports of Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Hardy fishermen and their families have long inhabited Bailey Island, which was settled in the 1720s. Ordinarily, they did not mind crossing to the mainland in their fishing boats. But before the Bailey Island Bridge was built, during certain seasons of the year when violent storms battered the coast, it was impossible to leave the island.