Two Jersey City police officers, Shawn Carson and Robert Nguyen, were killed on Christmas night when they were called to the Lincoln Highway Bridge over the Hackensack River to help set up road flares to protect drivers from motoring off the middle of a unique “vertical-lift” bridge that had its safety features disabled by a truck crash two days earlier.
Repairs would take two weeks of intensive construction so during that time police officers were called in to shield the public from the dangers of the bridge as it was raised for boat traffic. Some call this kind of bridge an “elevator bridge” because the center of the bridge rises straight up into the sky to allow boat traffic to flow below. Maritime law requires preference be given to commerce boats over motorists. The bridge is raised only at the radio request of boats and not on a predictable schedule. There are no angled ramps to indicate the bridge deck is no longer fit for cars and trucks — the middle of the bridge just disappears up into thin air.