April 20, 2014 at 3:09 AM
HUDSON COUNTY, NJ - The good news is that the anticipated car-mageddon from the closed northbound lanes on the Pulaski Skyway did not happen. However, the real test is yet to come when many commuting parents, children and teachers return from spring break next week.
Route 1&9 Pulaski Skyway’s northbound lanes are closed for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)’s rehabilitation of the crumbling bridge. The massive $1 billion project will rehabilitate the 81-year-old, 3.5 mile-long span that accommodates 74,000 cars daily. The work will close the span for at least the next two years.
“We haven't invested in our infrastructure for the past 40 years, which is why such a drastic project has been undertaken,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains), vice-chair of the New Jersey General Assembly's Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. “The construction is anticipated to take two years, but delays could push it to closer to three.”
NJDOT estimates that 35 percent of northbound Skyway motorists travel to Jersey City and 41 percent head to other Hudson County destinations, while 24 percent head to the Holland Tunnel. The DOT is increasing capacity on the NJ Turnpike Extension (I-78) eastbound shoulder, which converts into a third travel lane during morning and evening peak travel periods. Motorists seeking alternative driving routes can visit: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/roads/pulaski/alternate.shtm. The NJDOT suggests that drivers who currently do not have E-ZPass accounts open them in order to reduce delays at the toll plazas.
“There is going to be a tremendous amount of pain for everyone who lives and travels in this corridor,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “However, this project eliminates the potential for unimaginable disruptions that would occur were it necessary to completely shut down the Skyway.”
Drivers may consider public transportation options, including NJ Transit bus, train, and light rail service, as well as PATH trains, ferries, and private buses.