Commuters are being urged to use alternate routes while the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway are closed beginning on Saturday and will remain closed for the next two years.
Repairs to the Manhattan-bound side of the three-and-a-half mile bridge include replacing roadway decks, railings, and drainage systems.
The project is expected to cost an estimated $1 billion.
Approximately 40,000 commuters travel each day toward Jersey City and the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan, and about 74,000 vehicles total travel daily both ways across the 81-year-old Skyway.
Transportation Commissioner James Simpson says the shutdown is going to have a ripple effect on the region.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop says that it is highly likely he will declare a state of emergency for the start of the project because traffic effects are expected to be severe.
Fulop believes the declaration will allow him greater flexibility to deal with lane closures. He will be able to deploy police officers as necessary and change traffic signals and patterns without having to get prior approval from the City Council.
Officials are urging commuters to take alternate routes and use mass transportation to help ease gridlock. The effects of the shutdown may not be felt until after next week, as traffic is expected to be lighter with the observation of Passover and Easter holidays this week.
The steel truss Pulaski Skyway bridge, opened in 1932, is sound, but has been “structurally deficient” for 35 years and in need of repair, Simpson said.
Once the northbound lanes are rebuilt, southbound traffic will be shifted to those lanes.
The Pulaski Skyway rehabilitation project has been divided into ten contracts, and work on the bridge is expected to continue into the year 2020.
Drivers can call 511 for real time traffic alerts.
Commuters can also check the New Jersey Department of Transportation website for detailed information, updates, and transportation alternatives.
Image via Wikimedia Commons